Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

could have (done something) - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrase spoken
  1. 1
    used for saying that something was possible in the past, even though it did not happen

    You could have been killed.

    I could have told you, but I didn’t think you would listen.

    She could have married Gerald if she’d wanted to.

    Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    used for saying that perhaps something was true, although you do not really know

    The explosion could have been caused by a gas leak.

    It could have been Dan, but I’m not sure.

    Synonyms and related words
See also main entry: could
quiz invitation


a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play