strong /kUd/ modal verb 3rd person singular couldnegative short form couldn't
1 the past tense of `can': Could you hear that all right? | I couldn't get tickets after all, they were sold out. | Marcia said we could smoke, it was okay with her.
-see can 1
2 used to ask if someone is able or allowed to do something: Could I ask you a couple of questions? | What about Sam? Could he come along too?
3 used to express something that might be possible or might happen, when it is not certain that it will happen or be possible: Most accidents in the home could be easily prevented. | It could be weeks before the construction is actually finished. | If you're not careful, you could find yourself without enough stock to fill the order.
4 used to be polite when you are asking someone to do something: Could you pay this check into the bank for me tomorrow? | Yeah, there are a couple of things you could do for me if you're going into town.
5 used to suggest what you think someone should do or might be able to do: We could get the bus instead. | You could always try phoning her at the office. | If you could let us know your decision as soon as possible, it would be a great help.
6 used to show that you are annoyed about something: You could have told me you were going to be late! | I'm sure John could be more careful when he's washing up. | How could you say such an insulting thing to her! She's my best friend!
7 I couldn't care less used when you are not at all interested in or concerned about something: I said I couldn't care less if I got paid triple time, I'm not coming in on a Sunday. | A lot of the students just couldn't care less about learning anything.
8 I couldn't agree more used when you completely agree with someone: I couldn't agree more. There's just far too much sex and violence on TV.
9 I could have strangled/hit/killed etc sb used to emphasize that you were very angry with someone: I could have murdered Ryan for telling Jason that!
10 couldn't be more wonderful/exciting/boring etc also couldn't be better/prettier/worse etc used to emphasize how good, exciting etc something is: It couldn't have been a more restful vacation. | Things couldn't be worse, everything seems to be going wrong at once.
11 I couldn't used to politely say that you do not want any more food or drink: "Would you like another piece of pie?" "Oh, no thanks, I couldn't."

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • could — [ weak kəd, strong kud ] modal verb *** Could is usually followed by an infinitive without to : I m glad you could come. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I came as quickly as I could. Could does not change its form, so the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • could — W1S1 [kəd strong kud] modal v negative short form couldn t ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(past ability)¦ 2¦(possibility)¦ 3¦(emphasizing your feelings)¦ 4¦(requesting)¦ 5¦(suggesting)¦ 6¦(annoyance)¦ 7 couldn t be better/worse/more pleased etc 8 I couldn t …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • could — [kood] v.aux. [altered (infl. by WOULD, SHOULD) < ME coud < OE cuthe (akin to Goth kuntha, OHG konda, ON kunna), pt. of cunnan, to be able: see CAN1] 1. pt. of CAN1 [he gave what he could give] 2 …   English World dictionary

  • could — modal auxiliary. 1. See can. It functions as (1) the past tense of can, as in We could see for miles, (2) as a conditional equivalent to would be able to, as in I could take you in the car if you like, and (3) as a more tentative form of can in… …   Modern English usage

  • Could — (k??d), imp. of {Can}. [OF. coude. The l was inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and would.] Was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible. Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional present. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have * * * …   Universalium

  • could've — (could have) v. used to express the possibility that one may have been able to do something …   English contemporary dictionary

  • could — could; could·est; …   English syllables

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have …   English World dictionary

  • could|n't — «KUD uhnt», could not …   Useful english dictionary

  • could — O.E. cuðe, pt. of cunnan to be able (see CAN (Cf. can) (v.)); ending changed 14c. to standard English d(e). The excrescent l was added 15c. 16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical …   Etymology dictionary

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