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Related to couldst: hadst, mayest, wouldst


 (ko͝od′ĭst) or couldst (ko͝odst)
aux.v. Archaic
A second person singular past tense of can1.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


archaic used with the pronoun thou or its relative form, the form of could
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(kæn; unstressed kən)
auxiliary verb.
1. to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to: She can solve the problem easily.
2. to know how to: I can play chess, but not very well.
3. to have the power or means to: a dictator who can impose his will on the people.
4. to have the right or qualifications to: He can change whatever he wishes in the script.
5. may; have permission to: Can I speak to you for a moment?
6. to have the possibility: A coin can land on either side.
v.t., v.i.
7. Obs. to know.
can but, to be able to do nothing else except; can only: We can but try.
[before 900; Middle English, Old English, present indic. singular 1st, 3rd person of cunnan to know, know how]
usage: can and may are often interchangeable in the sense of possibility: A power failure can (or may) occur at any time. Despite the traditional insistence that only may conveys permission, both words are regularly used in this sense: Can (or May) I borrow your tape recorder? can occurs this way chiefly in spoken English; may occurs more frequently in formal speech and writing. In negative constructions, can't or cannot is more common than may not; the contraction mayn't is rare: You can't park in the driveway. can but and cannot but are somewhat formal expressions suggesting that there is no alternative to doing something. See also cannot, help.



n., v. canned, can•ning. n.
1. a sealed container for food, beverages, etc., as of aluminum, sheet iron coated with tin, or other metal.
2. a receptacle for garbage, ashes, etc.
3. a bucket or other container for holding or carrying liquids.
4. a metal or plastic container for holding film on cores or reels.
5. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. toilet; bathroom.
6. Slang. jail.
7. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. buttocks.
8. Mil. Slang.
a. a depth charge.
b. a destroyer.
9. to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.
10. Slang. to dismiss; fire.
11. Slang. to put a stop to: Can that noise!
12. to record, as on film or tape.
in the can, (of a commercial film, scene, etc.) completed.
[before 1000; Middle English, Old English canne, c. Old High German channa, Old Norse kanna]


1. Canada.
2. Canadian.


1. canceled.
2. canon.
3. canto.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
But I said, old man, that ere thou couldst die on this voyage, two hearses must verily be seen by thee on the sea; the first not made by mortal hands; and the visible wood of the last one must be grown in America.
"And even couldst thou have broken through that formidable web, with thy gnat's wings, thou believest that thou couldst have reached the light?
Ready must thou be to burn thyself in thine own flame; how couldst thou become new if thou have not first become ashes!
No wonder; for, though in thee be united What of perfection can in Man be found, Or human nature can receive, consider Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent At home, scarce viewed the Galilean towns, And once a year Jerusalem, few days' Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe?
To the music of brays what harmonies couldst thou expect to get but cudgels?
"Couldst thou have thought there were such merry times in a madhouse?" inquired the latter.
I feel thou art not gone- yet dare not look, Lest I behold thee not; thou couldst not go With those words upon thy lips- O, speak to me!
"I know thee couldst do better wi'out me, for thee couldst go where thee likedst an' marry them as thee likedst.
Then dost thou not think that thou couldst take the lass's part gif I take the lad's?
Methinks thy shoulders are stout and broad; couldst thou not find it in thy heart to carry me across?"
By what other means couldst thou be raised to high honour and to princely place, saving by my alliance?
Couldst thou have been kind, I could Rather have begged with thee, than have enjoyed With any other all the pomp of Greece; But thou art lost and hast forgotten all thy oaths.