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Webster 1913 Edition


Couple

Cou′ple

(kŭp′’l)
,
Noun.
[F.
couple
, fr. L.
copula
a bond, band;
co-
+
apere
,
aptum
, to join. See
Art
,
Adj.
, and cf.
Copula
.]
1.
That which joins or links two things together; a bond or tie; a coupler.
[Obs.]
It is in some sort with friends as it is with dogs in
couples
;
they should be of the same size and humor
.
L’Estrange.
I'll go in
couples
with her.
Shakespeare
2.
Two of the same kind connected or considered together; a pair; a brace.
“A couple of shepherds.”
Sir P. Sidney.
“A couple of drops”
Addison.
“A couple of miles.”
Dickens.
“A couple of weeks.”
Carlyle.
Adding one to one we have the complex idea of a
couple
.
Locke.
[Ziba] met him with a
couple
of asses saddled.
2 Sam. xvi. 1.
3.
A male and female associated together; esp., a man and woman who are married or betrothed.
Such were our
couple
, man and wife.
Lloyd.
Fair
couple
linked in happy, nuptial league.
Milton.
4.
(Arch.)
5.
(Elec.)
One of the pairs of plates of two metals which compose a voltaic battery; – called a
voltaic couple
or
galvanic couple
.
6.
(Mech.)
Two rotations, movements, etc., which are equal in amount but opposite in direction, and acting along parallel lines or around parallel axes.
☞ The effect of a couple of forces is to produce a rotation. A couple of rotations is equivalent to a motion of translation.

Cou′ple

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Coupled
(kŭp′’ld)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Coupling
(kŭp′lĭng)
.]
[F.
coupler
, fr. L.
copulare
. See
Couple
,
Noun.
, and cf.
Copulate
,
Cobble
,
Verb.
]
1.
To link or tie, as one thing to another; to connect or fasten together; to join.
Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds, . . .
And
couple
Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
Shakespeare
2.
To join in wedlock; to marry.
[Colloq.]
A parson who
couples
all our beggars.
Swift.

Cou′ple

,
Verb.
I.
To come together as male and female; to copulate.
[Obs.]
Milton. Bacon.

Webster 1828 Edition


Couple

COUPLE

,
Noun.
[L. G.]
1.
Two of the same species or kind, and near in place, or considered together; as a couple of men; a couple or oranges. I have planted a couple of cherry trees. We cannot call a horse and an ox a couple, unless we add a generic term. Of a horse and ox feeding in a pasture, we should say, a couple of animals. Among huntsmen and soldiers, brace is used for couple; as a brace of ducks; a brace or pistols. Couple differs from pair, which implies strictly not only things of the same kind, but likeness, equality or customary association. A pair is a couple; but a couple may or may not be a pair.
2.
Two things of any kind connected or linked together.
3.
A male and female connected by marriage, betrothed or allied; as a married couple; a young couple.
4.
That which links or connects two things together; a chain.

COUPLE

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To link, chain or connect one thing with another; to sew or fasten together.
Thou shalt couple the curtains with taches. Exodus 26.
2.
To marry; to wed; to unite, as husband and wife.

COUPLE

,
Verb.
I.
To embrace, as the sexes.

Definition 2022


couple

couple

See also: couplé

English

Noun

couple (plural couples)

  1. Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  2. Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  3. (informal) A small number.
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby
      A couple of billiard balls, all mud and dirt, two battered hats, a champagne bottle []
    • 1891, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
      ‘Oh, merely a couple of hundred a year, but the work is slight, and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations.’
    • 1902, A. Henry Savage Landor, Across Coveted Lands:
      When we got on board again after a couple of hours on shore []
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Thinks I to myself, Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer cottage []. So I started to back away again into the bushes. But I hadn't backed more'n a couple of yards when I see something so amazing that I couldn't help scooching down behind the bayberries and looking at it.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      And no use for anyone to tell Charles that this was because the Family was in mourning for Mr Granville Darracott […]: Charles might only have been second footman at Darracott Place for a couple of months when that disaster occurred, but no one could gammon him into thinking that my lord cared a spangle for his heir.
  4. One of the pairs of plates of two metals which compose a voltaic battery, called a voltaic couple or galvanic couple.
  5. (physics) Two forces that are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction (and acting along parallel lines), thus creating the turning effect of a torque or moment.
  6. (architecture) A couple-close.
  7. (obsolete) That which joins or links two things together; a bond or tie; a coupler.
    • Roger L'Estrange (1616-1704)
      It is in some sort with friends as it is with dogs in couples; they should be of the same size and humour.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      I'll go in couples with her.

Usage notes

  • The traditional and still most broadly accepted usage of couple is as a noun, in which case it is followed by "of" when used to mean "two", as in "a couple of people". In this usage, "a couple of" is equivalent to "a pair of". Couple is also used informally as a determiner (see definition below), in which case it is not followed by "of". In this usage, "a couple" is roughly equivalent to "a few". Usage manuals advise that couple be used only as a noun and not as a determiner in formal writing.
  • "A couple of things" or people may be used to mean two of them, but it is also often used to mean any small number.
    The farm is a couple of miles off the main highway [=a few miles away].
    We’re going out to a restaurant with a couple of friends [=two friends].
    Wait a couple of minutes [=two minutes or more].

Synonyms

Derived terms

Translations

Adjective

couple (not comparable)

  1. (informal, US) Two or (a) small number of.
    • 2005, Deirdre Savoy, Body of Truth, page 179:
      Put any couple guys in a tricked out car and a couple of bandannas [] " He trailed off.
    • 2005, Elaine Bonzelaar, Those First Two Years, page 47:
      Since we were now living so close, at least those couple hours of talking together helped boost our spirits.
    • 2006, Eric Nolen-Weathington, ‎George A. Khoury, ‎Arthur Adams, Modern Masters: Arthur Adams, volume six, page 22:
      Apparently, Ann in particular liked these couple pages of the character thing.

Determiner

couple

  1. (informal) A small number of.
  2. (colloquial, US) Two or a few.
    • 1922, “Lewis J. Bennett et al vs. Sebastien L. Petrino”, in State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division - Fourth Department:
      Q. (Mr. Feldman, atty) You say you lived upstairs? A. (Emma Moore) I lived upstairs. Q. Until when? A. About couple months we lived upstairs. Q. Up until couple months ago? A. No, couple months after we moved in there because the down stairs was not finished.
    • 2007, Jeffrey Lent, Lost Nation page=182:
      Couple boys from way downcountry come for a summer in the woods. Isaac Cole talked to em.
    • 2011, Elizabeth Eulberg, Prom and Prejudice:
      [At a pizza parlor] "Couple slices would be great. []

Verb

couple (third-person singular simple present couples, present participle coupling, simple past and past participle coupled)

  1. (transitive) To join (two things) together, or (one thing) to (another).
    Now the conductor will couple the train cars.
    I've coupled our system to theirs.
  2. (transitive, dated) To join in wedlock; to marry.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Jonathan Swift
      A parson who couples all our beggars.
  3. (intransitive) To join in sexual intercourse; to copulate.
    • 1987 Alan Norman Bold & Robert Giddings, Who was really who in fiction, Longman
      On their wedding night they coupled nine times.
    • 2001 John Fisher & Geoff Garvey, The rough guide to Crete, p405
      She had the brilliant inventor and craftsman Daedalus construct her an artificial cow, in which she hid and induced the bull to couple with her [...]

Derived terms

Translations


French

Etymology

From Old French couple, from Vulgar Latin *copla, inherited from Latin cōpula. Doublet of copule.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kupl/

Noun

couple m (plural couples)

  1. two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship
    Jean et Amélie forment un joli couple. - Jean and Amélie make a cute couple
  2. (physics) a force couple; a pure moment
  3. (mathematics) an ordered pair

Noun

couple f (plural couples)

  1. (animal husbandry) An accessory used to tightly attach two animals next to each other by the neck.
  2. (regional) a pair of something.
  3. (Canada) a couple of something, not to be mistaken as a few.
    • 1999, Chrystine Brouillet, Les Fiancées de l'Enfer, ISBN 2-89021-363-3, page 200:
      "Je veux une pause pour une couple de jour." — I need a pause for a couple days.

Related terms

Anagrams


Old French

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Vulgar Latin *copla, from Latin cōpula.

Noun

couple f (oblique plural couples, nominative singular couple, nominative plural couples)

  1. couple (two things)
  2. sexual liaison

Usage notes

  • Occasionally used as a masculine noun (le couple)

Descendants