Definition of couple in US English:

couple

noun

  • 1Two individuals of the same sort considered together.

    ‘a couple of girls were playing marbles’
    • ‘Fish were making their presence felt in every pool, including a couple of double figured salmon.’
    • ‘As the title suggests, this unlikely duo plays a couple of struggling actors.’
    pair, duo, duology, twosome, set of two, match
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    1. 1.1 A pair of partners in a dance or game.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The couple danced many classical roles together, as well as pas de deux that Nixon choreographed.’
      • ‘The band began to play a sixties medley and couples returned to the dance floor.’
      • ‘I do not dance well, but I delight in watching couples dance together, especially older couples.’
      • ‘Lucky couples on the dance floor walked away with more than a dozen prizes during the course of the night.’
      • ‘By which she meant that, although they were the final couple to dance, they hadn't finished up on the bottom of the pile.’
      • ‘Servants and squires of every sort were running around after their lords and knights, and beautiful couples swept across the dance floor.’
      • ‘The school board said it had no choice but to let the couple attend the dance, given the ruling.’
      • ‘Students were either at the center of the hall, dancing in couples or groups, or lounged around the tables, chatting amiably with their friends.’
      • ‘Getting the message, each of the couples escaped to the dance floor.’
      • ‘Before they knew it, the couple had danced six dances and was beginning to feel weary.’
      • ‘A new couple whirled onto the dance floor and snatched her attention.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Mechanics 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, engaged, or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When we had left the hotel, I had felt like we were a married couple on our honeymoon.’
    • ‘I mean when you think about it, we really are like this old married couple.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Interestingly everyone agrees that the one thing keeping unhappy couples together is not the last vestige of love, but money.’
    • ‘Most households consist of a married or unmarried couple and their children.’
    • ‘Nineteen couples from as far afield as Germany, England, Ghana and Taiwan said ‘I do’ on the island on Valentine's Day last year.’
    • ‘Congratulations are extended to the newly married couple and their families.’
    • ‘The two couples at the centre of the mix-up and the twins cannot be identified following a court order.’
    • ‘The dust swirled around in the perfect globe and came to settle at a pale green which matched the couples ' eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the crowded halls of the huge college, the couples were pairing off quickly and heading off to get ready for dates, or parties.’
    • ‘They found that the couples whose expectations matched their relationship skills were most satisfied.’
    • ‘But couples buying property together should think beyond these points if they want to avoid costly disputes.’
    • ‘These couples are self-sufficient; their careers, their interests, their travels are enough to give meaning to their lives.’
    • ‘Divorce is a label that married couples hope will never be applied to them.’
    • ‘He likes to look at the handsome couples and the odd couples, imagining how they met and what will happen to them next.’
    • ‘In that scrapbook there'll be pictures of everyone individually, and then pictures of the couples together.’
    husband and wife, twosome
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  • 3informal An indefinite small number.

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

  • 1often be coupled to/withwith object Combine.

    ‘a sense of hope is coupled with a palpable sense of loss’
    • ‘If this fact is coupled with the so called honour code of no ‘grassing’ on anyone, it becomes a problem.’
    • ‘This utilitarian approach to law is coupled with a general lack of enforcement in the traditional system.’
    • ‘So, ultramodern technology is coupled with older modes of understanding.’
    • ‘That measure is coupled with a decision to exclude the banks' cash holdings for reserve requirement purposes.’
    • ‘In both cases, an intellectual commitment to liberty is coupled with quite extraordinary intolerance in practice.’
    • ‘My prodigious (if I may humbly say so myself) drinking is coupled with insatiable eating.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My call for compulsory voting is coupled with a call for proportional representation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This time, though, it was coupled with incompetence.’
    • ‘But when consumer uncertainty is coupled with doubts about corporate profitability there is precious little consolation.’
    • ‘But my current retreat is different because it is coupled with the denial of one of my favourite habits.’
    • ‘Military power is not a panacea unless it is coupled with the soft skills of nation-building and, yes, global social work.’
    • ‘They work in fixed teams, where know-how is coupled with team work to provide the best possible service.’
    • ‘Hard-nosed deals are coupled with extraordinarily good staff relationships.’
    • ‘It is true that among our nation's founders, a firm belief in the marketplace was coupled with a belief in Providence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The arrival of autumn this year is coupled with the festival and tourist season and tourists have something to look forward to.’
    • ‘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 railroad vehicle or a piece of equipment) to another.
      ‘a cable is coupled up to one of the wheels’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When two cars are coupled together there is a two or three scale foot gap between the diaphragms.’
      • ‘The dual mode engine was backed onto our train, coupling up with the frontmost of the three coaches.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That said, it's a very good engine, which is coupled to a sublime gearbox.’
      • ‘This done, the brand-new C&O dynamometer car was coupled on, and the tests began in May 1929.’
      • ‘You simply unhook, turn the truck around and couple up again.’
      • ‘And true, Budd was late delivering the cars, but the whole train was coupled up and ready for service that August.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Larger terminals had their own steam plants to heat the trains prior to the locomotive coupling on.’
      • ‘The best case for 12-inch speakers, with their drivers nearly touching, can provide coupling up to about 550 Hz.’
      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’
      • ‘The passive antenna elements are coupled to selectable impedance components.’
      • ‘These components are coupled into single mode optical fibers and detected by photodiodes.’
      • ‘The buffer circuit further includes a write logic circuit that is coupled between the first buffer and the second buffer.’
      • ‘As a result, the boosting node and the source voltage can be prevented from being coupled by the transistor.’
      • ‘Both metal shells are secured and electrically coupled to an electrically conductive end cap.’
      • ‘The marker also has a transponder that is coupled to the tuned circuit.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.
      • ‘If we're going to be a couple up at camp then we should at least get to know each other a bit better.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After getting dumped by her golf-pro boyfriend, she couples up with a nicer example of one of the enemy, a landscape architect.’
      • ‘And eventually, they - surprise surprise - couple up, thus fulfilling the primary buddy-movie necessity, that at least one buddy is visibly heterosexual.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were only like, seven people there, and they were all coupled up except me.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A lot of the students there were coupled up and dancing close together, staring into each other's eyes or kissing.’
      • ‘Seeing all the happy people coupled up and ready to make it official only reminded her of her own situation.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2no object Mate or have sexual intercourse.

    • ‘When a courted female permits mating, the pair remain coupled, end to end, for many hours, even a day.’
    • ‘Then, when they coupled, he felt his very bones melting within his body.’
    • ‘In the city of a million hovels, a million lovers coupled to the signs of the seasons.’
    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

/ˈkəpəl//ˈkəpəl/