A Dictionary of the English Language
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1825

Should. v.n. [seude, sceoldan, Saxon.]

  1. This is a kind of auxiliary verb used in the conjunctive mood, of which the signification is not easily fixed.

  2. I Should go. It is my business or duty to go.

  3. If I Should go. If it happens that I go.

  4. Thou Should'st go. Thou oughtest to go.

  5. If thou Should'st go. If it happens that thou goest.

  6. The same significations are found in all the other persons singular and plural.

    Let not a desperate action more engage you
    Than safety should.
    Ben. Johnson's Catiline.

    Some praises come of good wishes and respects, when by telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be. Bacon.

    To do thee honour I will shed their blood,
    Which the just laws, if I were faultless, should.

    So subjects love just kings, or so they should. Dryden.

    I conclude, that things are not as they should be. Swift.

  7. Should be. A proverbial phrase of slight contempt or irony.

    The girls look upon their father as a clown, and the boys think their mother no better than she should be. Addison.

  8. There is another signification now little in use, in which should has scarcely any distinct or explicable meaning. It should be differs in this sense very little from it is.

    There is a fabulous narration, that in the northern countries there should be an herb that groweth in the likeness of a lamb, and feedeth upon the grass. Bacon's Nat. History.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Jonson, Ben (70) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Waller, Edmund (63)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Should." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 29, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/should/.

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