Could meaning

ko͝od
The definition of could is often used in the place of "can" to show a little doubt.

An example of could is someone asking if they can help someone.

An example of could is saying that something is able to happen if someone does something.

verb
52
11
Used to indicate ability or permission in the past.

I could run faster then. Only men could go to the club in those days.

verb
28
7
Used to suggest something.

You could try adding more salt to the soup.

verb
27
8
Used to indicate tentativeness or politeness.

I could be wrong. Could you come over here?

verb
19
7
Used to politely ask for someone else to do something.

Could you proofread this email?

verb
19
8
Advertisement
Used with hypothetical or conditional force.

If we could help, we would.

verb
9
1
Simple past tense of can.
  • Used as a past indicative.
    Before I was blind, I could see very well.
  • Used as a past subjunctive (irrealis).
    I think he could do it if he really wanted to.
    I wish I could fly!.
verb
8
3
Used to politely ask for permission to do something.

Could I borrow your coat?

verb
6
1
verb
6
2
Used as a modal auxiliary in verbal phrases with present or future time reference, generally equivalent to can in meaning and use, with the following functions:
  • Expressing esp. a shade of doubt or a lesser degree of ability or possibility.
    It could be so.
  • Expressing a lesser degree of permission.
    could I go?.
  • Forming the present conditional.
    It would help if he could wait.
  • Forming the past conditional.
    He would have left if he could.
  • Expressing or suggesting politely less certainty than.
    could you wait?.
verb
5
1
Advertisement

He gave what he could give.

verb
5
2

He gave what he could.

verb
3
2
Used to show the possibility that something might happen.

We could rearrange the time if you like.

verb
3
2

Origin of could

  • From Middle English coude, from Old English cuþ, preterite form of cunnan (“to be able”). The addition of the silent 'l' was likely a misappropriation attempting to normalize with modal verbs will/would and shall/should. However, while the letter l was historically pronounced in the latter two, can never did have an l sound in it.

    From Wiktionary