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[kuhp-uh l] /ˈkʌp əl/
two of the same sort considered together; pair.
two persons considered as joined together, as a married or engaged pair, lovers, or dance partners:
They make a handsome couple.
any two persons considered together.
Mechanics. a pair of equal, parallel forces acting in opposite directions and tending to produce rotation.
Also called couple-close. Carpentry. a pair of rafters connected by a tie beam or collar beam.
a leash for holding two hounds together.
Fox Hunting. two hounds:
25 hounds or 12½ couple.
verb (used with object), coupled, coupling.
to fasten, link, or associate together in a pair or pairs.
to join; connect.
to unite in marriage or in sexual union.
  1. to join or associate by means of a coupler.
  2. to bring (two electric circuits or circuit components) close enough to permit an exchange of electromagnetic energy.
verb (used without object), coupled, coupling.
to join in a pair; unite.
to copulate.
a couple of, more than two, but not many, of; a small number of; a few: It will take a couple of days for the package to get there.
A dinner party, whether for a couple of old friends or eight new acquaintances, takes nearly the same amount of effort.
Also, Informal, a couple.
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French c(o)uple, Old French cople, cuple < Latin cōpula a tie, bond (see copula); (v.) Middle English couplen < Anglo-French co(u)pler, Old French copler, cupler < Latin copulāre (see copulate)
Related forms
coupleable, adjective
intercouple, adjective
well-coupled, adjective
Can be confused
couple, pair, several (see synonym study at pair)
Usage note
The phrase a couple of, meaning “a small number of; a few; several,” has been in standard use for centuries, especially with measurements of time and distance and in referring to amounts of money: They walked a couple of miles in silence. Repairs will probably cost a couple of hundred dollars. The phrase is used in all but the most formal speech and writing. The shortened phrase 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 or representations of speech, especially when followed by number terms (as a couple dozen eggs) or units of measurement (as a couple years ago; a couple gallons of gas). This use of couple (as an adjective or modifier) is still disliked by many. Without a following noun, a couple is even more informal: Jack shouldn't drive. It's clear he's had a couple. (Here the noun drinks is omitted.)
In referring to two people, couple, like many collective nouns, may take either a singular or a plural verb. Most commonly, it is construed as a plural: The couple were traveling to Texas. See also collective noun. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for coupled
  • With the end of the drought, coupled with several major irrigation projects, the state's agricultural industry bounced back.
  • The unnatural gloom is believed to have been caused by smoke from forest fires, possibly coupled with heavy fog.
  • Heavy pesticide use there at the time, coupled with heavy chemicals used here to revive the flowers after the long transport.
  • Optical scanners, the first technology deployed, use an array of charge-coupled devices to take a digital image of a fingertip.
  • The new findings do not completely resolve the coupled quasar mystery, however.
  • The subjects mostly chose white when a medium hued face was coupled with a business suit.
  • The heat pump is air coupled, so it is not of much use in the winter.
  • With drug regulations being what they are coupled with medical liability there is no solution.
  • Most experts agree that the only solution is energy efficiency coupled with renewables, unless nuclear fusion proves to be viable.
  • coupled with complete bans when stocks plunge to dangerous levels, ownership is a proven concept for sustainability.
British Dictionary definitions for coupled


being one of the partners in a permanent sexual relationship


two people who regularly associate with each other or live together: an engaged couple
(functioning as singular or pl) two people considered as a pair, for or as if for dancing, games, etc
(mainly hunting)
  1. a pair of collars joined by a leash, used to attach hounds to one another
  2. two hounds joined in this way
  3. the unit of reckoning for hounds in a pack: twenty and a half couple
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
  1. two dissimilar metals, alloys, or semiconductors in electrical contact, across which a voltage develops See thermocouple
  2. 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
a connector or link between two members, such as a tie connecting a pair of rafters in a roof
(functioning as singular or pl) a couple of
  1. a combination of two; a pair of: a couple of men
  2. (informal) a small number of; a few: a couple of days
(usually preceded by a; functioning as singular or pl) two; a pair: give him a couple
(transitive) to connect (two things) together or to connect (one thing) to (another): to couple railway carriages
(transitive) to do (two things) simultaneously or alternately: he couples studying with teaching
to form or be formed into a pair or pairs
to associate, put, or connect together: history is coupled with sociology
to link (two circuits) by electromagnetic induction
(intransitive) to have sexual intercourse
to join or be joined in marriage; marry
(transitive) to attach (two hounds to each other)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: a pair, from Latin cōpula a bond; see copula
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coupled



late 13c., from Old French cople "married couple, lovers" (12c., Modern French couple), from Latin copula "tie, connection," from PIE *ko-ap-, from *ko(m)- "together" + *ap- "to take, reach." Meaning broadened mid-14c. to "any two things."


c.1200, from Old French copler, from cople (see couple (n.)). Related: Coupled; coupling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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