Meaning of could-be in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkʊdbi/


  • Able to be or become; possible.

    ‘his new could-be love interest’
    • ‘a could-be fatal illness’
    • ‘He collects stories, from passengers, of could-be weapons - scissors, nail files - that slipped through security.’
    • ‘My first idea wasn't that great since it was, in a sense, excluding a group of could-be customers.’
    • ‘I had a couple of disasters, but I came out better than if I was retiring today and all these would-be, could-be fund managers were in charge of my money.’
    • ‘Reality is Bowie's umpteenth record and while it doesn't even come close to capturing the energy or sexiness of his early works, there are some could-be classics on this all-over-the-map release.’
    • ‘Will your team take a risk on this could-be superstar playmaker who surely will be a project and might never make it at all?’
    • ‘When he was a teenager, he was inseparable from his best friend and could-be lover, Silvy.’
    • ‘Executives at competing networks have watched their handling of the could-be candidates with some astonishment.’
    • ‘A group of young men arrived all dressed to the nines with those sort of messed-up, could-be-70s haircuts.’
    potential, prospective, likely, probable, could-be, would-be, aspiring


  • A potential candidate for a job or situation.

    • ‘political could-bes’
    • ‘Military planners work with "scenarios," rather than scenes, political could-bes and military what-ifs that become the basis for campaign plans.’
    • ‘That will leave a heap of disappointed nobodies, has beens, could-bes and wannabes on the ground.’
    • ‘Many of those would remain could-bes if it were not for that Jupiterian good luck that so often turns things around at the eleventh hour.’
    • ‘The world's full of would bes, could bes, might bes... how many people do you know who'll ever be anything more than that?’
    • ‘They'd had a couple of "could-bes" or "maybes" but nothing definite.’