could have (done something) - definition and synonyms

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