Meaning of “couldn't” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"couldn't" in British English

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uk /ˈkʊd.ənt/ us /ˈkʊd.ənt/

short form of could not:

I couldn't find my keys this morning.

More examples

  • She couldn't study with the children chasing around the house.
  • The banks had closed so I couldn't get any money out.
  • I couldn't understand the directions on the packet.
  • The car was so badly damaged that it couldn't be repaired.
  • Why didn't you come? Couldn't you hear me calling you?

(Definition of “couldn't” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"couldn’t" in American English

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us /ˈkʊd·ənt/

contraction of could not:

Couldn’t you leave on Saturday instead?

(Definition of “couldn’t” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)