definition of couples by The Free Dictionary




1. Two items of the same kind; a pair.

2. Something that joins or connects two things together; a link.

3. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)

a. Two people united, as by betrothal or marriage.

b. Two people together.

4. Informal A few; several: a couple of days.

5. Physics A pair of forces of equal magnitude acting in parallel but opposite directions, capable of causing rotation but not translation.

v. cou·pled, cou·pling, cou·ples

1. To link together; connect: coupled her refusal with an explanation.

2. Electricity To link (two circuits or currents), as by magnetic induction.

3. Archaic To join together in marriage; marry.


1. To form pairs; join.

2. To unite sexually; have sexual intercourse.

3. To join chemically.

adj. Informal

Two or few: “Every couple years the urge strikes, to … haul off to a new site” (Garrison Keillor).

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin cōpula, bond, pair.]

Usage Note: When used to refer to two people who function socially as a unit, as in a married couple, the word couple may take either a singular or a plural verb, depending on whether the members are considered individually or collectively: The couple were married last week. Only one couple was left on the dance floor. When a pronoun follows, they and their are more common than it and its: The couple decided to spend their (less commonly its) vacation in Florida. Using a singular verb and a plural pronoun, as in The couple wants their children to go to college, is widely considered to be incorrect. Care should be taken that the verb and pronoun agree in number: The couple want their children to go to college. · Although the phrase a couple of has been well established in English since before the Renaissance, modern critics have sometimes maintained that a couple of is too inexact to be appropriate in formal writing. But the inexactitude of a couple of may serve a useful purpose, suggesting that the writer is indifferent to the precise number of items involved. Thus the sentence She lives only a couple of miles away implies not only that the distance is short but that its exact measure is unimportant. This usage should be considered unobjectionable on all levels of style. · The of in the phrase a couple of is often dropped in speech, but this omission is usually considered a mistake. In 2013, 80 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence A couple friends came over to watch the game to be unacceptable.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. two people who regularly associate with each other or live together: an engaged couple.

2. (functioning as singular or plural) two people considered as a pair, for or as if for dancing, games, etc

3. (Hunting) chiefly hunting

a. a pair of collars joined by a leash, used to attach hounds to one another

b. two hounds joined in this way

c. the unit of reckoning for hounds in a pack: twenty and a half couple.

4. (General Physics) a pair of equal and opposite parallel forces that have a tendency to produce rotation with a torque or turning moment equal to the product of either force and the perpendicular distance between them

5. (General Physics) physics

a. two dissimilar metals, alloys, or semiconductors in electrical contact, across which a voltage develops. See thermocouple

b. Also called: galvanic couple two dissimilar metals or alloys in electrical contact that when immersed in an electrolyte act as the electrodes of an electrolytic cell

6. (Building) a connector or link between two members, such as a tie connecting a pair of rafters in a roof

7. a couple of (functioning as singular or plural)

a. a combination of two; a pair of: a couple of men.

b. informal a small number of; a few: a couple of days.


(usually preceded by a; functioning as singular or plural) two; a pair: give him a couple.


8. (tr) to connect (two things) together or to connect (one thing) to (another): to couple railway carriages.

9. (tr) to do (two things) simultaneously or alternately: he couples studying with teaching.

10. to form or be formed into a pair or pairs

11. to associate, put, or connect together: history is coupled with sociology.

12. (Electronics) to link (two circuits) by electromagnetic induction

13. (Zoology) (intr) to have sexual intercourse

14. to join or be joined in marriage; marry

15. (Hunting) (tr) to attach (two hounds to each other)

[C13: from Old French: a pair, from Latin cōpula a bond; see copula]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkʌp əl)

n., v. -pled, -pling. n.

1. a combination of two of a kind; pair.

2. a grouping of two persons, as a married or engaged pair, lovers, or dance partners.

3. any two persons considered together.

4. a small number; few: We met a couple of times.

5. a pair of equal, parallel forces acting in opposite directions and tending to produce rotation.

6. something that joins two things together.


7. to fasten or associate together in a pair or pairs.

8. to join; connect.

9. to unite in marriage or in sexual union.


a. to join or associate by means of a coupler.

b. to bring (two electric circuits or circuit components) close enough to permit an exchange of electromagnetic energy.


11. to join in a pair; unite.

12. to copulate.

[1175–1225; Middle English c(o)uple, Old French cople, cuple cōpula a tie, bond (see copula)]

cou′ple•a•ble, adj.

usage: The phrase a couple of has been standard for centuries, esp. in referring to distance, money, or time (Stay for a couple of days) and is used in all but the most formal speech and writing. The shortened a couple, without of (The gas station is a couple miles from here), is an Americanism of recent development that occurs chiefly in informal speech. Without a following noun, the phrase is highly informal: Jack shouldn’t drive. He’s had a couple. (Here the noun drinks is omitted.) See also collective noun.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


– Its underlying notion is of “joining,” coming from Latin copula, “connection, tie.”

See also related terms for joining.

Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


– couple

1. ‘a pair of’

A pair of things are two things of the same size and shape that are used together, such as shoes.

Someone has dropped a pair of gloves.

He bought a pair of hiking boots.

When you use a pair of like this, you can use either a singular or a plural form of a verb.

He wore a pair of shoes that were given to him by his mother.

A pair of shoes was stolen.

You also use a pair of to refer to something that has two main parts of the same size and shape, such as trousers, glasses, or scissors.

She has a new pair of glasses.

Do you have a pair of scissors I could use?

When you use a pair of like this, you use a singular form of a verb.

Who does this pair of jeans belong to?

A good pair of binoculars is essential for watching birds.

2. ‘a couple of’

In conversation and informal writing, you can refer to two people or things as a couple of people or things.

I asked a couple of friends to help me.

We played a couple of games of tennis.

You use a plural form of a verb with a couple of.

A couple of guys were standing by the car.

On the table were a couple of mobile phones.

Be Careful!
Don’t use ‘a couple of’ in formal writing.

3. referring to two people as a “”

A couple consists of two people who have a romantic or sexual relationship, for example a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.

In Venice we met a South African couple.

Married couples will get tax benefits.

You usually use a plural form of a verb with couple.

A couple were sitting together on the bench.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: coupled
Gerund: coupling

I couple
you couple
he/she/it couples
we couple
you couple
they couple
I coupled
you coupled
he/she/it coupled
we coupled
you coupled
they coupled
Present Continuous
I am coupling
you are coupling
he/she/it is coupling
we are coupling
you are coupling
they are coupling
Present Perfect
I have coupled
you have coupled
he/she/it has coupled
we have coupled
you have coupled
they have coupled
Past Continuous
I was coupling
you were coupling
he/she/it was coupling
we were coupling
you were coupling
they were coupling
Past Perfect
I had coupled
you had coupled
he/she/it had coupled
we had coupled
you had coupled
they had coupled
I will couple
you will couple
he/she/it will couple
we will couple
you will couple
they will couple
Future Perfect
I will have coupled
you will have coupled
he/she/it will have coupled
we will have coupled
you will have coupled
they will have coupled
Future Continuous
I will be coupling
you will be coupling
he/she/it will be coupling
we will be coupling
you will be coupling
they will be coupling
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been coupling
you have been coupling
he/she/it has been coupling
we have been coupling
you have been coupling
they have been coupling
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been coupling
you will have been coupling
he/she/it will have been coupling
we will have been coupling
you will have been coupling
they will have been coupling
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been coupling
you had been coupling
he/she/it had been coupling
we had been coupling
you had been coupling
they had been coupling
I would couple
you would couple
he/she/it would couple
we would couple
you would couple
they would couple
Past Conditional
I would have coupled
you would have coupled
he/she/it would have coupled
we would have coupled
you would have coupled
they would have coupled

Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011

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