Couple vs Partner - What's the difference?

couple | partner |

As nouns the difference between couple and partner

is that couple is two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship while partner is someone who is associated with another in a common activity or interest.

As verbs the difference between couple and partner

is that couple is to join (two things) together, or (one thing) to (another) while partner is to make or be a partner.

As a determiner couple

is (informal) a small number of.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en noun)
  • Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship.
  • * 1729 , (Jonathan Swift), (A Modest Proposal)
  • I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders;
  • Two of the same kind connected or considered together.
  • * 1839 , (Charles Dickens), (Nicholas Nickleby)
  • (label) A small number.
  • * 1839 , (Charles Dickens), (Nicholas Nickleby)
  • A couple of billiard balls, all mud and dirt, two battered hats, a champagne bottle
  • * 1891 , (Arthur Conan Doyle), (The Adventure of the Red-Headed League)
  • ‘Oh, merely a couple of hundred a year, but the work is slight, and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations.’
  • * 1902 , , Across Coveted Lands :
  • When we got on board again after a couple of hours on shore
  • * , chapter=1
  • , title= Mr. Pratt's Patients, chapter=1 , passage=Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ […].” So I started to back away again into the bushes. But I hadn't backed more'n a couple of yards when I see something so amazing that I couldn't help scooching down behind the bayberries and looking at it.}}
  • *{{quote-book, year=1959, author=(Georgette Heyer), title=(The Unknown Ajax), chapter=1
  • , passage=And no use for anyone to tell Charles that this was because the Family was in mourning for Mr Granville Darracott […]: Charles might only have been second footman at Darracott Place for a couple of months when that disaster occurred, but no one could gammon him into thinking that my lord cared a spangle for his heir.}}
  • One of the pairs of plates of two metals which compose a voltaic battery, called a voltaic couple or galvanic couple.
  • (label) Two forces that are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction (and acting along parallel lines), thus creating the turning effect of a torque or moment.
  • (label) A couple-close.
  • (label) That which joins or links two things together; a bond or tie; a coupler.
  • * (w, Roger L'Estrange) (1616-1704)
  • It is in some sort with friends as it is with dogs in couples ; they should be of the same size and humour.
  • * (William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • I'll go in couples with her.

    Usage notes

    * The traditional and still most broadly accepted usage of be used only as a noun and not as a determiner in formal writing. * "A couple of things" or people may be used to mean two of them, but it is also often used to mean any small number. *: The farm is a couple of miles off the main highway [=a few miles away]. *: We’re going out to a restaurant with a couple of friends [=two friends]. *: Wait a couple of minutes [=two minutes or more].


    * (two partners) * (two things of the same kind) brace, pair * (a small number of) few, handful

    Derived terms

    * bridal couple * coupla * couplezilla * couple-close * galvanic couple * voltaic couple


  • (informal) A small number of.
  • Verb

  • To join (two things) together, or (one thing) to (another).
  • Now the conductor will couple the train cars.
    I've coupled our system to theirs.
  • (dated) To join in wedlock; to marry.
  • * (rfdate),
  • A parson who couples all our beggars.
  • To join in sexual intercourse; to copulate.
  • * 1987 Alan Norman Bold & Robert Giddings, Who was really who in fiction, Longman
  • On their wedding night they coupled nine times.
  • * 2001 John Fisher & Geoff Garvey, The rough guide to Crete, p405
  • She had the brilliant inventor and craftsman Daedalus construct her an artificial cow, in which she hid and induced the bull to couple with her [...]

    Derived terms

    * coupling (noun) * decouple, decoupled * uncouple




    (en noun)
  • Someone who is associated with another in a common activity or interest.
  • # A member of a business or law partnership
  • #* 1668 July 3, , “Thomas Rue contra'' Andrew Hou?toun” in ''The Deci?ions of the Lords of Council & Se??ion I (Edinburgh, 1683), page 548:
  • He Su?pends on the?e Rea?ons, that Thomas Rue'' had granted a general Di?charge to ''Adam Mu?het'', who was his Conjunct, and ''correus debendi'', after the alleadged Service, which Di?charged ''Mu?het'', and con?equently ''Houstoun his Partner .
  • # A spouse or domestic partner
  • # Someone with whom one dances in a two-person dance.
  • #*
  • He tried to persuade Cicely to stay away from the ball-room for a fourth dance.But she said she must go back, and when they joined the crowd again her partner was haled off with a frightened look to the royal circle, […].
  • (nautical) One of the pieces of wood comprising the framework which strengthens the deck of a wooden ship around the holes through which the mast and other fittings pass.
  • (Jamaica) A group financial arrangement in which each member contributes a set amount of money over a set period.
  • Synonyms

    * See also


    (en verb)
  • to make or be a partner
  • to work or perform as a partner
  • Descendants

    * French: partenaire (g) 1000 English basic words ----