- An example of may is when you admit that it is possible you are wrong.
- An example of may is when you are given permission to go somewhere.
- used to express ability or power: now generally replaced by can
- used to express possibility or likelihood: it may rain
- used to express permission: you may go
- used to express contingency, as in clauses of purpose, result, concession, or condition: they died that we may be free
- used in exclamations and apostrophes to express a wish, hope, or prayer: may he rest in peace
- Law shall; must
Origin of mayMiddle English ; from Old English mæg, akin to German mag, Old High German and amp; Gothic magan, literally , to be physically capable of doing ; from Indo-European base an unverified form m?gh-, to be able from source might
- used to express possibility or likelihood
- used to express permission: yes, you may
Origin of mayMiddle English ; from Old English mæg, kinswoman, woman (? merged with Old Norse mær, maiden)
- the fifth month of the year, having 31 days: abbrev. M or My
- the springtime of life; youth; prime
- the English hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) with small, lobed leaves and white, pink, or red flowers
- its branches or flowers
- the festivities of May Day
Origin of MayOld French mai ; from Classical Latin (mensis) Maius, (month) of Maius: see Maia
Origin of Maycontr. of Mary, Margaret, often associated, association with the name of the month
Origin of Mayafter C. J. Mey, 17th-c. Dutch explorer
aux.v.Past tense might might
- To be allowed or permitted to: May I take a swim? Yes, you may.
- Used to indicate a certain measure of likelihood or possibility: It may rain this afternoon.
- Used to express a desire or fervent wish: Long may he live!
- Used to express contingency, purpose, or result in clauses introduced by that or so that: expressing ideas so that the average person may understand.
- To be obliged, as where rules of construction or legal doctrine call for a specified interpretation of a word used in a law or legal document. See Usage Note at can1.
Origin of mayMiddle English, to be able, from Old English mæg, first and third person sing. of magan, to be strong, be able; see magh- in Indo-European roots.
Origin of mayFrench mai, hawthorn, from Mai, May (so called because it blooms in May); see may .
- The fifth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. See Table at calendar.
- The springtime of life; youth.
- The celebration of May Day.
Origin of MayMiddle English, from Old French Mai, from Latin Māius (mēnsis), (the month) of Maia, from Māia, an Italic goddess; see meg- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present may, present participle -, simple past might, past participle -)
- (intransitive, poetic) To be able to go. [from 9th c.]
- (modal auxiliary verb, defective) To have permission to, be allowed. Used in granting permission and in questions to make polite requests. [from 9th c.]
- you may smoke outside; may I sit there?
- (modal auxiliary verb, defective) Expressing a present possibility; possibly. [from 13th c.]
- he may be lying; SchrÃ¶dinger's cat may or may not be in the box
- (subjunctive present, defective) Expressing a wish (with present subjunctive effect). [from 16th c.]
- may you win; may the weather be sunny
- Used in modesty, courtesy, or concession, or to soften a question or remark.
- May is now a defective verb. It has no infinitive, no past participle, and no future tense. Forms of to be allowed to are used to replace these missing tenses.
- The simple past (both indicative and subjunctive) of may is might
- The present tense is negated as may not, which can be contracted to mayn't, although this is old-fashioned; the simple past is negated as might not, which can be contracted to mightn't.
- May has archaic second-person singular present indicative forms mayest and mayst.
- Usage of this word in the sense of possibly is considered incorrect by some speakers and writers, as it blurs the meaning of the word in the sense have permission to. These speakers and writers prefer to use the word might instead.
- Wishes are often cast in the imperative rather than the subjunctive mood, not using the word may, as in Have a great day! rather than May you have a great day.
From Old English magan, from Proto-Germanic *maganÄ…, from Proto-Indo-European *magÊ°, *megÊ°. Cognate with Dutch mogen, Low German mÃ¦gen, German mÃ¶gen, Swedish mÃ¥, Icelandic mega, megum. See also might.
(third-person singular simple present mays, present participle maying, simple past and past participle mayed)
- To gather may.
- May (Mae) is often used in conjoined names (e.g., Lillie Mae, Katie Mae, Fannie Mae).