Definition 2022


could do without



could do without (past participle could have done without)

  1. To not want something, perhaps because it would make the situation worse, or would simply be very annoying.
    I could do without the CEO coming today of all days. I've got enough problems as it is!

Usage notes

  • This is the subjunctive form of can do without.
  • Can do without is generally used for situations that can be changed, while could do without is often used in situations which cannot be changed. This is not a hard and fast rule.

See also