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English definition of “could”

could

verb uk   strong /kʊd/ weak /kəd/ us  

could

modal verb uk   strong /kʊd/ weak /kəd/ us  

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?

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?

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!

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.

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!
(Definition of could from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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