Green’s Dictionary of Slang

-a sfx

used to denote a colloq. or slangy pron. of:.

(a) have, e.g. coulda, musta, shoulda, woulda.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 29: Passing by a bunch of big operators who have just joined the I Shoulda Club.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 53: A pompadour that woulda made Marie Antoinette look like a big cheese.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 44: You shoulda seen him when the coppers bust it [i.e. a fight] up.
[US]Laurents & Sondheim West Side Story I i: You shoulda done worse.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Gone Fishin’ 183: Coulda bowled me over with a feather when I seen ’im haulin’ ’em in.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 70: If it was up to me they coulda buried you.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 115: I shoulda put Boy George between those two gender benders.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 248: You had me dead to rights, right up on me. You coulda beat the hell out of me.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 176: He woulda been after your little ring-piece if he was still around.

(b) to, e.g. gonna, gotta, oughta, wanna.

[US]Noble Sissle ‘How Ya Gonna Keep ’Em Down on the Farm?’ 🎵 How ’ya gonna keep them away from Broadway, / Jazzin’ around, / And paintin’ the town?
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 64: I’m gonna slap you for a Chinese ash can and send you back to that slab in Jersey on a shutter!
[UK]G. Greene Brighton Rock (1943) 163: It oughta be on me [...] But I’m cleaned out.
[US]Louis Jordan ‘Reconversion Blues’ 🎵 If someone say ‘for the duration’ Brother, I’m gonna blow my fuse.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 200: I never figured on getting hooked all the way. I was only gonna play it for a Pepsi-Cola kick.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 167: [He] is gonna get himself ass-deep in so much young Scotch that this palatial suite of ours better be able to float.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 66: Some Bureau guys are gonna burn in this thing and you’re gonna have to work with friends of theirs.
[US]Clown Dog Riot homepage 🌐 Clockin grips is cool... you oughta try it Josh, wuss.

(c) of, e.g. cuppa n., lotsa n., lotta n.

In phrases

coulda shoulda woulda

(US) phr. indicating regret for what might have happened/been done, but never was.

[US]Studies in Linguistics Supp. 42: The perfect coulda shoulda woulda mighta.
[US]Forbes 141 116: Yet nearly all bettors think they ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ come out ahead—if only.
[US]Frontline 11 93: ‘I should have kicked the extra point, but coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn't do it’.
[US]B. Dean Not My father’s Footsteps [ebook] [We] need to move on—no looking back, no regrets about coulda, shoulda, woulda.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Coulda, shoulda, woulda dominated his thoughts.