• Couple


    • Rhymes: -ʌpəl


    From Old French couple, from Latin copula.

    Full definition of 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 NicklebyA 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, Mr. Pratt's Patients Chapter 1, 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, The Unknown Ajax Chapter 1, 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 few miles away.

    We’re going out to a restaurant with a couple of friends friends.

    Wait a couple of minutes minutes or more.




    1. (informal) A small number of.


    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.
    3. (intransitive) To join in sexual intercourse; to copulate.
      • 1987 Alan Norman Bold & Robert Giddings, Who was really who in fiction, LongmanOn their wedding night they coupled nine times.
      • 2001 John Fisher & Geoff Garvey, The rough guide to Crete, p405She had the brilliant inventor and craftsman Daedalus construct her an artificial cow, in which she hid and induced the bull to couple with her ...
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