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could

more about could

could


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Can  \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  Note:  [The  transitive  use  is  obsolete.]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}, 
  {Cunning},  {Uncouth}.] 
  1.  To  know  to  understand.  [Obs.] 
 
  I  can  rimes  of  Rodin  Hood.  --Piers 
  Plowman. 
 
  I  can  no  Latin,  quod  she  --Piers 
  Plowman. 
 
  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 
  can  but 
 
  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. 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Could  \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. 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  could 
  v  :  expresses  possibility;  "I  could  do  it  by  myself"  [syn:  {might}] 




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