Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • auxiliary v. Used to express obligation or duty: You should send her a note.
  • auxiliary v. Used to express probability or expectation: They should arrive at noon.
  • auxiliary v. Used to express conditionality or contingency: If she should fall, then so would I.
  • auxiliary v. Used to moderate the directness or bluntness of a statement: I should think he would like to go.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Used to form the future tense of the subjunctive mood, usually in the first person.
  • v. Be obliged to; have an obligation to; ought to; indicates that the subject of the sentence has some obligation to execute the sentence predicate.
  • v. Will likely (become or do something); indicates that the subject of the sentence is likely to execute the sentence predicate.
  • v. A variant of would.
  • n. A statement of what should be the case as opposed to what is the case.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Used as an auxiliary verb, to express a conditional or contingent act or state, or as a supposition of an actual fact; also, to express moral obligation (see shall); e. g.: they should have come last week; if I should go; I should think you could go.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Preterit of shall.

Etymologies

From Old English sceolde, preterite form of sculan ("owe", "be obliged"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I only put things on there that I choose to read, not books that someone thinks I should read, or books I've agreed to review, or books I *should* read if I knew what was good for me.

    mikandra: I am a complete tragic

  • It seems to me that if we're asking what developers want or should want, then they, like most businesses, *should* want whatever gives them minimum risk and maximum profitability.

    Third Party Beneficiaries and Other Fantastical Beasts in Virtual Worlds

  • I should also point out that insanely high MPG *should* correlate to low emissions, which is important in high-density areas like urban downtowns and commuter freeways.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » A 230 mpg Hybrid — and It’s a Chevrolet:

  • Guess I should clarify Elizabeth... this is what I think the membership function *should* be about... not about dues and renewals.

    ISO Chief Commuity Officer

  • We should welcome the fact the web 2.0 widens the possibility of expression of people: expecting that, in a democracy, everybody *should* talk is just an utopia.

    Allan Jenkins' Desirable Roasted Coffee

  • Any idiot can see Wooten should have been off the force post-haste, and Monegan *should* lose his job for not recognizing that.

    Troopergate...

  • I think the most interesting source was that of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who spills no small amount of ink moralizing that no decent Jew should ever even consider eating veal, and then sets up halachic boundaries that *should* make the production of veal prohibatively expensive to Jews, and then admits, after all that, that one could argue that as long as you observe his laundry-list of halachic requirements, you could have kosher veal.

    When is it Kosher? | Jewschool

  • She's saying that homosexuals should be allowed to pursue orientation change if they want it -- not that they *should* want it, or should be encouraged to use it.

    Marcotte blames sexism for her troubles.

  • So are you trying to say that laws banning same sex marriage fail the rational basis test, or that a court should hold that sexual orientation *should* be a protected class, and therefore get strict scrutiny – in which case Loving would directly apply?

    New Jersey, Being Subtle « Whatever

  • So are you trying to say that laws banning same sex marriage fail the rational basis test, or that a court should hold that sexual orientation *should* be a protected class – just like race, and therefore get strict scrutiny?

    New Jersey, Being Subtle « Whatever

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