May May (m[=a]), v. [imp. {Might} (m[imac]t)] [AS. pres. m[ae]g I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G. m["o]gen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. [root]103. Cf. {Dismay}, {Main} strength, {Might}. The old imp. mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.] An auxiliary verb qualifying the meaning of another verb, by expressing: (a) Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener expressed by {can}. [1913 Webster]

How may a man, said he, with idle speech, Be won to spoil the castle of his health! --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

For what he [the king] may do is of two kinds; what he may do as just, and what he may do as possible. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

For of all sad words of tongue or pen The saddest are these: ``It might have been.'' --Whittier. [1913 Webster] (b) Liberty; permission; allowance. [1913 Webster]

Thou mayst be no longer steward. --Luke xvi. 2. [1913 Webster] (c) Contingency or liability; possibility or probability. [1913 Webster]

Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance Some general maxims, or be right by chance. --Pope. [1913 Webster] (d) Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a question or remark. [1913 Webster]

How old may Phillis be, you ask. --Prior. [1913 Webster] (e) Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction, and the like. ``May you live happily.'' --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

{May be}, & {It may be}, are used as equivalent to {possibly}, {perhaps}, {maybe}, {by chance}, {peradventure}. See 1st {Maybe}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • May — May, n. [F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess Maia (Gr. Mai^a), daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury by Jupiter.] 1. The fifth month of the year, containing thirty one days. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. The early part or springtime …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • May — ist: ein Familienname, siehe May (Familienname) – dort auch zu Namensträgern eine Berner Patrizierfamilie, siehe May (Patrizierfamilie) ein US amerikanischer Film von Lucky McKee: May (Film) ein englischer weiblicher Vorname, siehe May (Vorname)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • May — /may/, n. 1. the fifth month of the year, containing 31 days. 2. the early part of one s life, esp. the prime: a young woman in her May. 3. the festivities of May Day. 4. (l.c.) Brit. the hawthorn. 5. a female given name. v.i. 6. (l.c.) to gather …   Universalium

  • May — puede referirse a: (348) May, asteroide. Brian May (1947 n.), músico británico. Brian May (1934 1997), compositor australiano de música de cine. Kenneth May (1915 1977), matemática estadounidense. Karl May (1842 1912), escritor alemán Ernst May… …   Wikipedia Español

  • may — An expression of possibility, a permissive choice to act or not, as distinguished from shall, which is an imperative or often mandatory course of action. (See also: shall) Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits Category: Working With a Lawyer… …   Law dictionary

  • May — May,   1) Angelica, Violoncellistin, * Reutlingen 17. 9. 1938; studierte u. a. bei L. Hoelscher und P. Casals und wurde 1975 Professor an der Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf; bildete mit dem Pianisten Leonard Hokanson (* 1931) ein Duo und mit… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • May — May: May   общепринятое сокращение (обозначение) имени ботаника, которое добавляется к научным (латинским) названиям некоторых таксонов ботанической (бинарной) номенклатуры и указывает на то, что автором этих наименований является… …   Википедия

  • May — May, n. [Cf. Icel. m[ae]r, Goth. mawi; akin to E. maiden. [root]103.] A maiden. [Obs.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • May — f English: pet form of both MARGARET (SEE Margaret) and MARY (SEE Mary). The popularity of this name, which was at its height in the early 20th century, has been reinforced by the fact that it fits into the series of month names with APRIL (SEE… …   First names dictionary

  • May — (spr. mē), Sir Thomas Erskine, Lord Farnborough, engl. Geschichtschreiber, geb. 1815, gest. 17. Mai 1886, trat 1831 beim Unterhaus als Bibliotheksassistent ein und avancierte allmählich bis zum Clerk (obersten Beamten des Hauses), welche Stelle… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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