could Meaning, definition in Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of "could" - English Dictionary

See all translations

couldverb

uk   us   strong /kʊd/ weak /kəd/

could verb (CAN)

A2 past simple of "can", used to talk about what someone or something was able or allowed to do: When I was younger I could stay up all night and not get tired. It was so noisy that we couldn't hear ourselves speak. You said we could watch television when we've finished our homework. We asked if the computer could access the internet.
More examples

couldmodal verb

uk   us   strong /kʊd/ weak /kəd/

could modal verb (PERMISSION)

B1 used as a more polite form of "can" when asking for permission: Could I speak to Mr Davis, please? Excuse me, could I just say something?
More examples

could modal verb (REQUEST)

A2 used as a more polite form of "can" when asking someone to provide something or do something: Could you lend me £5? Could you possibly turn that music down a little, please?
More examples

could modal verb (POSSIBILITY)

B1 used to express possibility, especially slight or uncertain possibility: A lot of crime could be prevented. She could arrive anytime now. This new drug could be an important step in the fight against cancer. Be careful with that stick - it could have gone in my eye!
More examples

could modal verb (SUGGESTION)

B1 used for making a suggestion: We could go for a drink after work tomorrow, if you like. You could always call Susie and see if she will babysit.
More examples

could modal verb (SHOULD)

used for saying, especially angrily, what you think someone else should do: Well, you could try to look a little more enthusiastic! I waited ages for you - you could have said that you weren't coming!
Translations of “could”
in Arabic يُمكِن, يَسْتَطيع, هَل بالإمْكان؟…
in Korean “can”의 과거형, 허락을 구할때 “can”보다 공손한 표현으로 “could”가 쓰임, 가능성이 있음을 표현할 때 쓰임…
in Malaysian boleh, mungkin…
in French pouvoir…
in Turkish can' fiilinin geçmiş zaman hali, bir şeyin olma olasılığını anlatmada kullanılır, bir şeyi nazikçe istemede veya sormada kullanılır…
in Italian usato come passato semplice di “can” per esprimere capacità o permesso al passato, usato come forma più gentile di “can” per chiedere permesso di fare qualcosa, usato per esprimere ciò che è possibile o che potrebbe accadere…
in Chinese (Traditional) 能, (表示能夠或允許)能,可以…
in Russian прош. вр. гл. can, может, мог бы…
in Polish mógł itp., można było, może…
in Vietnamese chỉ sự cho phép, sự bày tỏ khả năng…
in Spanish pasado del verbo ‘‘poder’’, para expresar posibilidad…
in Portuguese passado de “can”, forma educada de “can” quando usado para pedir algo, poderia…
in Thai กริยาช่องที่ 2 ของกริยาช่วย can, สามารถ…
in German pret. von ‘können‘, Konjunktiv von ‘können‘…
in Catalan passat de “can”, s’utilitza per a expressar el que algú sabia, o el que algú o alguna cosa podia fer…
in Japanese “can” の過去形, (許可を求める疑問文で、”can” よりも丁寧)~してもよろしいですか, (推量を表す)~かもしれない…
in Indonesian dapat, mungkin…
in Chinese (Simplified) 能, (表示能够或允许)能,可以…
(Definition of could from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of could?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “could” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day
child benefit

money received regularly by families from the government to help pay for the costs of taking care of children

Word of the Day

Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
by Kate Woodford,
July 29, 2015
A reader of this blog recently asked for a post on idioms that are used in everyday English. This seemed like a reasonable request. After all, if you are going to make the effort to learn a set of English idioms, you want those idioms to be useful. The question, then, was

Read More 

responsible luxury noun
responsible luxury noun
August 03, 2015
high-end, green tourism and hospitality Jumeirah’s ‘responsible luxury’ approach is an example of a sustainable travel experience – future guests will enjoy the environment as much as today’s.

Read More