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2 definitions found
 for could
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Could \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
     [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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     Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.]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.]
        [1913 Webster]
              I can rimes of Robin Hood.            --Piers
        [1913 Webster]
              I can no Latin, quod she.             --Piers
        [1913 Webster]
              Let the priest in surplice white,
              That defunctive music can.            --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. To be able to do; to have power or influence. [Obs.]
        [1913 Webster]
              The will of Him who all things can.   --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
              For what, alas, can these my single arms? --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              M[ae]c[ae]nas and Agrippa, who can most with
              C[ae]sar.                             --Beau. & Fl.
        [1913 Webster]
     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.
          [1913 Webster]
                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.
          [1913 Webster]
                Tom felt that this was a rebuff for him, and could
                not but understand it as a left-handed hit at his
                employer.                           --Dickens.
          [1913 Webster]

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