Webster 1913 Edition
Webster 1828 Edition
WOULD, WUD, pret. of will, G., L.
Would is used as an auxiliary verb in conditional forms of speech. I would go, if I could. This form of expression denotes will or resolution, under a condition or supposition. You would go, He would go, denote simply an event, under a condition or supposition. The condition implied in would is not always expressed. By pleasure and pain, I would be understood to mean what delights or molests us--; that is, if it should be asked what I mean by pleasure and pain, I would thus explain what I wish to have understood. In this form of expression, which is very common, there seems to be an implied allusion to an inquiry, or to the supposition of something not expressed.
Would has the sense of wish or pray, particularly in the phrases, would to God, would God we had died in Egypt, I would that ye knew what conflict I have; that is, I could wish such a thing, if the wish could avail. Here also there is an implied condition.
Would is used also for wish to do, or to have. What wouldst thou? What would he?