Hypertext Webster Gateway: "could"

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Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.]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

I can no Latin, quod she. --Piers

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
Was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible.
Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

v : expresses possibility; "I could do it by myself" [syn: {might}]

Additional Hypertext Webster Gateway Lookup

Enter word here:
Exact Approx

Gateway by dict@stokkie.net
stock only wrote the gateway and does not have any control over the contents; see the Webster Gateway FAQ, and also the Back-end/database links and credits.