Meaning of COUPLE in English


I. ˈkə-pəl; “couple of” is often ˌkə-plə(v) noun

Etymology: Middle English, pair, bond, from Anglo-French cuple, from Latin copula bond, from co- + apere to fasten — more at apt

Date: 13th century


a. : two persons married, engaged, or otherwise romantically paired

b. : two persons paired together

2. : pair , brace

3. : something that joins or links two things together: as

a. : two equal and opposite forces that act along parallel lines

b. : a pair of substances that in contact with an electrolyte participate in a transfer of electrons which causes an electric current to flow

4. : an indefinite small number : few

a couple of days ago

• cou·ple·dom -dəm noun

II. ˈkə-pəl verb

( cou·pled ; cou·pling -p(ə-)liŋ)

Date: 13th century

transitive verb


a. : to connect for consideration together

b. : to join for combined effect


a. : to fasten together : link

b. : to bring (two electric circuits) into such close proximity as to permit mutual influence

3. : to join in marriage or sexual union

intransitive verb

1. : to unite in sexual union

2. : join

3. : to unite chemically

III. adjective

Date: 1924

: two ; also : few — used with a

a couple drinks


The adjective use of a couple, without of, has been called nonstandard, but it is not. In both British and American English it is standard before a word (as more or less ) indicating degree

a couple more examples of Middle English writing — Charles Barber

Its use before an ordinary plural noun is an Americanism, common in speech and in writing that is not meant to be formal or elevated

the first couple chapters are pretty good — E. B. White (letter)

still operated a couple wagons for hire — Garrison Keillor

It is most frequently used with periods of time

a couple weeks

and numbers

a couple hundred

a couple dozen

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.