Definition of Could. Meaning of Could. Synonyms of Could
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Definition of Could
CouldCan Can, v. t. & i.
Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.] [imp. Could.] [OE.
cunnen, cannen (1st sing. pres. I can), to know, know
how, be able, AS. cunnan, 1st sing. pres. ic cann or
can, pl. cunnon, 1st sing. imp. c[=u][eth]e (for
cun[eth]e); p. p. c[=u][eth] (for cun[eth]); akin to
OS. Kunnan, D. Kunnen, OHG. chunnan, G. k["o]nnen,
Icel. kunna, Goth. Kunnan, and E. ken to know. The
present tense I can (AS. ic cann) was originally a
preterit, meaning I have known or Learned, and hence I
know, know how. [root]45. See Ken, Know; cf. Con,
1. To know; to understand. [Obs.]
I can rimes of Rodin Hood. --Piers
I can no Latin, quod she. --Piers
Let the priest in surplice white, That defunctive
music can. --Shak.
2. To be able to do; to have power or influence. [Obs.]
The will of Him who all things can. --Milton.
For what, alas, can these my single arms? --Shak.
M[ae]c[ae]nas and Agrippa, who can most with
C[ae]sar. --Beau. & Fl.
3. To be able; -- followed by an infinitive without to; as, I
can go, but do not wish to.
Syn: Can but, Can not but. It is an error to use the
former of these phrases where the sens requires the
latter. If we say, ``I can but perish if I go,' ``But'
means only, and denotes that this is all or the worst
that can happen. When the apostle Peter said. ``We can
not but speak of the things which we have seen and
heard.' he referred to a moral constraint or necessety
which rested upon him and his associates; and the
meaning was, We cannot help speaking, We cannot refrain
from speaking. This idea of a moral necessity or
constraint is of frequent occurrence, and is also
expressed in the phrase, ``I can not help it.' Thus we
say. ``I can not but hope,' ``I can not but believe,'
``I can not but think,' ``I can not but remark,' etc.,
in cases in which it would be an error to use the phrase
Yet he could not but acknowledge to himself that
there was something calculated to impress awe, . .
. in the sudden appearances and vanishings . . .
of the masque --De Quincey.
Tom felt that this was a rebuff for him, and could
not but understand it as a left-handed hit at his
employer. --Dickens. CouldCould Could (k??d), imp. of Can. [OF. coude. The l was
inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and
Was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible.
Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional
Meaning of Could from wikipedia
- the third-person singular). The prin****l English modal verbs
are can, could
, may, might, shall, should, will, would, and must. Certain other verbs
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