could Meaning in the Cambridge Essential English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of "could" in Essential English Dictionary

could

modal verb
 
strong /kʊd/
 
weak /kəd/
A2 used as the past form of ‘can’ to talk about what someone or something was able or allowed to do: I couldn’t see him. You said I could go!
A2 used as a more polite form of ‘can’ when asking for permission: Excuse me, could I say something here? Could I speak to Mr Davis, please?
B1 used to talk about what is possible or might happen: She could arrive any time now.
B1 used as a more polite form of ‘can’ when asking someone to give you something or do something: Could you lend me £5? Could you turn the music down a little, please?
B1 used for making a suggestion: We could go for a drink after work tomorrow, if you like.
could have used to talk about things that possibly happened in the past or might possibly have happened by some time in the future: She could have been killed.
couldn’t have used to express certainty that something in the past was impossible or didn’t happen: He couldn’t have damaged your bike – he was with me all evening.
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) 許可, (禮貌地請求許可)可以,能…
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) 许可, (礼貌地请求许可)可以,能…
(Definition of could from the Cambridge Essential Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More Essential British English definitions for “could”

Word of the Day
coeducational

having male and female students being taught together in the same school or college rather than separately

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

hyperpalatable adjective
hyperpalatable adjective
August 24, 2015
describes food with heightened levels of sugar and salt, intended to be extremely appealing In Brazil, where the prevalence of overweight and obese adults has doubled since 1980, crisps, biscuits, energy bars and sugary drinks formulated to be ‘hyper-palatable’ are much more widely eaten than previously.

Read More