Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
could·est(ko͝od′ĭst) or couldst (ko͝odst)
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
can1(kæn; unstressed kən)
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.Idioms:
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.v.t.
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.Idioms:
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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.