Definition of couple in English:

couple

noun

  • 1Two people or things of the same sort considered together.

    ‘a couple of girls were playing marbles’
    • ‘As the title suggests, this unlikely duo plays a couple of struggling actors.’
    • ‘Fish were making their presence felt in every pool, including a couple of double figured salmon.’
    pair, duo, duology, twosome, set of two, match
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    1. 1.1 A pair of partners in a dance or game.
      • ‘Lucky couples on the dance floor walked away with more than a dozen prizes during the course of the night.’
      • ‘Getting the message, each of the couples escaped to the dance floor.’
      • ‘The couple danced many classical roles together, as well as pas de deux that Nixon choreographed.’
      • ‘Students were either at the center of the hall, dancing in couples or groups, or lounged around the tables, chatting amiably with their friends.’
      • ‘A new couple whirled onto the dance floor and snatched her attention.’
      • ‘Before they knew it, the couple had danced six dances and was beginning to feel weary.’
      • ‘The band began to play a sixties medley and couples returned to the dance floor.’
      • ‘In the case of pair skaters and ice dance couples, one of the two individuals must fulfill the same requirement as for a singles skater.’
      • ‘It is a linear dance - the couple dance forward and backward rather than around in circles.’
      • ‘The couples in the piece make an experience and a temporal transformation occurs.’
      • ‘By which she meant that, although they were the final couple to dance, they hadn't finished up on the bottom of the pile.’
      • ‘I do not dance well, but I delight in watching couples dance together, especially older couples.’
      • ‘The school board said it had no choice but to let the couple attend the dance, given the ruling.’
      • ‘Servants and squires of every sort were running around after their lords and knights, and beautiful couples swept across the dance floor.’
    2. 1.2 A pair of hunting dogs.
    3. 1.3couples Two collars joined together and used for holding hounds together.
    4. 1.4 A pair of rafters.
    5. 1.5Mechanics A pair of equal and parallel forces acting in opposite directions, and tending to cause rotation about an axis perpendicular to the plane containing them.
  • 2treated as singular or plural Two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually.

    ‘in three weeks the couple fell in love and became engaged’
    ‘a honeymoon couple’
    • ‘They found that the couples whose expectations matched their relationship skills were most satisfied.’
    • ‘His family is being torn apart by his dad's alcoholism, his emotions are being torn as he sees his friends pair off into couples, and his job working on the railtracks is uninspiring.’
    • ‘I picked up the Sunday paper that weekend and saw a double-page spread full of interviews with the childless couples who had written to the woman in desperation.’
    • ‘Congratulations are extended to the newly married couple and their families.’
    • ‘In that scrapbook there'll be pictures of everyone individually, and then pictures of the couples together.’
    • ‘I mean when you think about it, we really are like this old married couple.’
    • ‘The couples were played by actors, but the doctors, lawyers, social workers, and the judge were all real life professionals acting as they would if this were a real case.’
    • ‘He likes to look at the handsome couples and the odd couples, imagining how they met and what will happen to them next.’
    • ‘Most households consist of a married or unmarried couple and their children.’
    • ‘These couples are self-sufficient; their careers, their interests, their travels are enough to give meaning to their lives.’
    • ‘Some couples choose to keep their main accounts separate, paying into a joint account to cover regular outgoings such as the mortgage and supermarket bills.’
    • ‘The two couples at the centre of the mix-up and the twins cannot be identified following a court order.’
    • ‘Interestingly everyone agrees that the one thing keeping unhappy couples together is not the last vestige of love, but money.’
    • ‘But couples buying property together should think beyond these points if they want to avoid costly disputes.’
    • ‘The dust swirled around in the perfect globe and came to settle at a pale green which matched the couples ' eyes.’
    • ‘Divorce is a label that married couples hope will never be applied to them.’
    • ‘In the crowded halls of the huge college, the couples were pairing off quickly and heading off to get ready for dates, or parties.’
    • ‘None of the characters seems to like each other; the relationships between the couples appear to be based on mutual irritation and all seem self-preoccupied.’
    • ‘When we had left the hotel, I had felt like we were a married couple on our honeymoon.’
    • ‘Nineteen couples from as far afield as Germany, England, Ghana and Taiwan said ‘I do’ on the island on Valentine's Day last year.’
    husband and wife, twosome
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  • 3informal An indefinite small number.

    as pronoun ‘he hoped she'd be better in a couple of days’
    ‘we got some eggs—would you like a couple?’
    as determiner ‘just a couple more questions’
    ‘clean the stains with a couple squirts dishwashing liquid’
    • ‘So set the scene for me a little bit - a couple of grown men climbing around trees in the campus.’
    • ‘That question has a couple of answers, starting with the fact that they do go bankrupt a lot.’
    • ‘Jim gave his regulator a couple of squirts on the purge button to reassure himself that his air was turned on.’
    • ‘Boil the liquid for a couple of minutes and then reduce to a simmer.’
    • ‘I asked all these questions a couple of years ago, not believing in it at all.’
    • ‘I'm back in for two days to finish off a couple of bits for the last project I was working on.’
    • ‘It's an upright stick with a couple of bits of wood fixed to the top to make a cross.’
    • ‘Then he stopped by the livestock dealer to buy a couple of chickens and a goose.’
    • ‘And I'd just like to ask a couple of questions about education level.’
    • ‘He said he even gave the police a hair sample a couple of days ago when they came in there.’
    • ‘My guard had been increased and it was a small army of a couple of dozen soldiers who rattled around with me.’
    • ‘I've had two full games for the reserves and a couple of bits here and there.’
    • ‘Locate the marking tool on the door or jamb, and strike it sharply with a hammer a couple times.’
    • ‘You might be a little late to the debate, John, but you seem to have put your finger on a couple of the important bits.’
    • ‘The cylinder timing was on but a bit slow on a couple of the stops, but it was still on and working.’
    • ‘At least enough to stop them from running around like a couple of headless chickens.’
    • ‘But you seem to have asked the question a couple of times, and I am a bit puzzled by that.’
    • ‘There are a couple of bits of the evidence that show they prepared them all in advance.’
    • ‘So Jesse and I just went into the kitchen to get a couple of chicken sandwiches.’
    • ‘A couple of rusty old bits of farm machinery lay slowly dissolving beneath the sky.’
    a few, two or three, a small number of
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verb

  • 1often be coupled to/withwith object Link or combine (something) with something else.

    ‘a sense of hope is coupled with a palpable sense of loss’
    • ‘The arrival of autumn this year is coupled with the festival and tourist season and tourists have something to look forward to.’
    • ‘If this fact is coupled with the so called honour code of no ‘grassing’ on anyone, it becomes a problem.’
    • ‘My prodigious (if I may humbly say so myself) drinking is coupled with insatiable eating.’
    • ‘Military power is not a panacea unless it is coupled with the soft skills of nation-building and, yes, global social work.’
    • ‘In both cases, an intellectual commitment to liberty is coupled with quite extraordinary intolerance in practice.’
    • ‘So, ultramodern technology is coupled with older modes of understanding.’
    • ‘They work in fixed teams, where know-how is coupled with team work to provide the best possible service.’
    • ‘This is due to the reason that the speed of the river is not very encouraging and when it is coupled with this phenomena, then it may lead to worse condition.’
    • ‘My call for compulsory voting is coupled with a call for proportional representation.’
    • ‘The roots of jazz date back to around the 1890s when a blend of African music from the slaves on the plantations was coupled with European-American musical traditions.’
    • ‘That measure is coupled with a decision to exclude the banks' cash holdings for reserve requirement purposes.’
    • ‘This utilitarian approach to law is coupled with a general lack of enforcement in the traditional system.’
    • ‘But when consumer uncertainty is coupled with doubts about corporate profitability there is precious little consolation.’
    • ‘It was coupled with a request for $70 million to study and develop new types of nuclear weapons and to shorten the time it would take to test them.’
    • ‘It is true that among our nation's founders, a firm belief in the marketplace was coupled with a belief in Providence.’
    • ‘But my current retreat is different because it is coupled with the denial of one of my favourite habits.’
    • ‘Hard-nosed deals are coupled with extraordinarily good staff relationships.’
    • ‘The frequent power cuts have also compounded the problems for them and when it is coupled with the steep hike in prices, people feel that they have been caught between devil and deep sea.’
    • ‘This time, though, it was coupled with incompetence.’
    • ‘The soaring burglary rate is coupled with a drug abuse epidemic that adds more violence to even the simplest of burglaries or muggings.’
    combine, integrate, mix, incorporate, accompany, link, team, associate, connect, ally
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    1. 1.1 Connect (a railway vehicle or a piece of equipment) to another.
      ‘a cable is coupled up to one of the wheels’
      • ‘This done, the brand-new C&O dynamometer car was coupled on, and the tests began in May 1929.’
      • ‘You can drive around in the cab and when eventually you find a trailer section you can couple up - you're then in charge of a full 18 wheel articulated rig - complete with airbrakes and airhorn!’
      • ‘The best case for 12-inch speakers, with their drivers nearly touching, can provide coupling up to about 550 Hz.’
      • ‘That said, it's a very good engine, which is coupled to a sublime gearbox.’
      • ‘And true, Budd was late delivering the cars, but the whole train was coupled up and ready for service that August.’
      • ‘You simply unhook, turn the truck around and couple up again.’
      • ‘With her right of way clear, No. 823 reversed through the loop and then forward down the freight road to couple up to the errant coach.’
      • ‘The dual mode engine was backed onto our train, coupling up with the frontmost of the three coaches.’
      • ‘The faster journeys would be achieved by cutting the number of times that trains have to be coupled and decoupled, a job that can take precious minutes.’
      • ‘Larger terminals had their own steam plants to heat the trains prior to the locomotive coupling on.’
      • ‘When two cars are coupled together there is a two or three scale foot gap between the diaphragms.’
      harness, hitch, hitch up, tether, fasten, attach, join, join up, team
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    2. 1.2 Connect (two electrical components) using electromagnetic induction, electrostatic charge, or an optical link.
      ‘networks of coupled oscillators’
      • ‘As a result, the boosting node and the source voltage can be prevented from being coupled by the transistor.’
      • ‘The marker also has a transponder that is coupled to the tuned circuit.’
      • ‘Both metal shells are secured and electrically coupled to an electrically conductive end cap.’
      • ‘The passive antenna elements are coupled to selectable impedance components.’
      • ‘These components are coupled into single mode optical fibers and detected by photodiodes.’
      • ‘At least two of the first plurality of circuit boards may be coupled to independently distribute power to each of the plurality of switch circuit boards.’
      • ‘The buffer circuit further includes a write logic circuit that is coupled between the first buffer and the second buffer.’
      connect, attach, join, fasten, fix, link, secure, tie, bind, strap, rope, tether, truss, lash, hitch, yoke, chain
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    3. 1.3couple upno object Join to form a pair.
      ‘the beetles may couple up to form a pair’
      • ‘So much is changing right now with Uni ending, my need to get a job, everyone leaving, everyone getting coupled up, I don't know how I'm going to manage.’
      • ‘Why is everyone coupling up and heading off to get naked?’
      • ‘And eventually, they - surprise surprise - couple up, thus fulfilling the primary buddy-movie necessity, that at least one buddy is visibly heterosexual.’
      • ‘Its quartet of characters couple up on the Fourth of July, hoping for fireworks.’
      • ‘The ones who were single are all coupled up now and talking marriage, and the ones who were coupled up are married now and talking kids.’
      • ‘I was crying every day, I was calling in sick to work and I couldn't face meeting up with my friends who were all blissfully coupled up.’
      • ‘Seeing all the happy people coupled up and ready to make it official only reminded her of her own situation.’
      • ‘After getting dumped by her golf-pro boyfriend, she couples up with a nicer example of one of the enemy, a landscape architect.’
      • ‘If we're going to be a couple up at camp then we should at least get to know each other a bit better.’
      • ‘If he has friends that are coupled up, become couple friends - you and one of the ladies might really hit it off.’
      • ‘People in an approximation of street dress (in other words, us) meet on the run and couple up for fleeting moments.’
      • ‘Aimed at singletons and those who are happily coupled up but want to meet new people, the night is a cross between speed-dating and a book club, aimed at those in their 20s to 40s.’
      • ‘I've been asking my friends and colleagues if they know the word - because there must be a word - to describe someone who simply does not make it a priority to couple up with other people.’
      • ‘Honestly, I figured that meant coupling up, but wasn't sure.’
      • ‘The handsome teacher gets everyone coupled up, asks you to keep your upper bodies stiff and your hips loose, and puts on the first track.’
      • ‘There were only like, seven people there, and they were all coupled up except me.’
      • ‘Sure, I like having some of my set activities, but I also like to mix things up at times, and I have lots of friends that I see regularly, even the ones that are coupled up.’
      • ‘A lot of the students there were coupled up and dancing close together, staring into each other's eyes or kissing.’
  • 2no object Mate or have sexual intercourse.

    ‘as middle-class youth grew more tolerant of sex, they started to couple more often’
    • ‘In the city of a million hovels, a million lovers coupled to the signs of the seasons.’
    • ‘Then, when they coupled, he felt his very bones melting within his body.’
    • ‘When a courted female permits mating, the pair remain coupled, end to end, for many hours, even a day.’
    mate, breed
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French cople (noun), copler (verb), from Latin copula (noun), copulare (verb), from co- ‘together’ + apere ‘fasten’. Compare with copula and copulate.

Pronunciation

couple

/ˈkʌp(ə)l/