could

\ \ [16] Could began life as cūthe, the past tense of Old English cunnancan’. By Middle English times this had become couthe, and in the 14th century it developed to coude under the influence of the standard past tense ending (e)de.
\ \ The l was introduced in the 16th century, to bring coude into line with would and should.
\ \ Cf.KITH, UNCOUTH

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • could — [ weak kəd, strong kud ] modal verb *** Could is usually followed by an infinitive without to : I m glad you could come. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I came as quickly as I could. Could does not change its form, so the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • could — W1S1 [kəd strong kud] modal v negative short form couldn t ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(past ability)¦ 2¦(possibility)¦ 3¦(emphasizing your feelings)¦ 4¦(requesting)¦ 5¦(suggesting)¦ 6¦(annoyance)¦ 7 couldn t be better/worse/more pleased etc 8 I couldn t …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • could — [kood] v.aux. [altered (infl. by WOULD, SHOULD) < ME coud < OE cuthe (akin to Goth kuntha, OHG konda, ON kunna), pt. of cunnan, to be able: see CAN1] 1. pt. of CAN1 [he gave what he could give] 2 …   English World dictionary

  • could — modal auxiliary. 1. See can. It functions as (1) the past tense of can, as in We could see for miles, (2) as a conditional equivalent to would be able to, as in I could take you in the car if you like, and (3) as a more tentative form of can in… …   Modern English usage

  • Could — (k??d), imp. of {Can}. [OF. coude. The l was inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and would.] Was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible. Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional present. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have * * * …   Universalium

  • could've — (could have) v. used to express the possibility that one may have been able to do something …   English contemporary dictionary

  • could — could; could·est; …   English syllables

  • could've — [kood′əv] contraction could have …   English World dictionary

  • could|n't — «KUD uhnt», could not …   Useful english dictionary

  • could — O.E. cuðe, pt. of cunnan to be able (see CAN (Cf. can) (v.)); ending changed 14c. to standard English d(e). The excrescent l was added 15c. 16c. on model of would, should, where it is historical …   Etymology dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.