possibly
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 mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.]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.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Possibly — Pos si*bly, adv. In a possible manner; by possible means; especially, by extreme, remote, or improbable intervention, change, or exercise of power; by a chance; perhaps; as, possibly he may recover. [1913 Webster] Can we . . . possibly his love… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • possibly — [päs′ə blē] adv. 1. by any possible means; in any case [it can t possibly work] 2. by some possibility; perhaps; maybe [it may possibly be so] …   English World dictionary

  • possibly — late 14c., from POSSIBLE (Cf. possible) + LY (Cf. ly) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • possibly — [adv] by chance; in some way at all, by any chance, by any means, conceivably, could be, God willing*, if possible, in any way, likely, maybe, not impossibly, peradventure, perchance, perhaps, probably, within realm of possibility; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • possibly — ► ADVERB 1) perhaps. 2) in accordance with what is possible …   English terms dictionary

  • possibly — [[t]pɒ̱sɪbli[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADV: ADV with cl/group, ADV with v (vagueness) You use possibly to indicate that you are not sure whether something is true or might happen. Exercise will not only lower blood pressure but possibly protect against heart… …   English dictionary

  • possibly — adverb 1 used when saying that something may be true or likely, although you do not know exactly; perhaps: “Are you coming with us tomorrow?” “Possibly. I m not sure yet.” | This novel is his most accessible, and possibly his most beautiful, book …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • possibly — pos|si|bly W2S1 [ˈpɔsıbli US ˈpa: ] adv 1.) used when saying that something may be true or likely, although you are not completely certain = ↑perhaps, maybe ↑maybe ▪ This last task is possibly the most difficult. ▪ It will take three weeks,… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • possibly — pos|si|bly [ pasəbli ] adverb *** 1. ) likely to happen or be true, but not certain: There is a chance of showers today and possibly a thunderstorm. Do we have enough money to get a hotel room? Possibly. quite/very possibly: He is quite possibly… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • possibly */*/*/ — UK [ˈpɒsəblɪ] / US [ˈpɑsəblɪ] adverb 1) likely to happen or be true, but not certain There is a chance of showers today and possibly a thunderstorm. Do we have enough money to get a car? Possibly. quite/very possibly: He is quite possibly the… …   English dictionary

  • possibly*/*/*/ — [ˈpɒsəbli] adv likely to happen or be true, but not certain There is a chance of showers today and possibly a thunderstorm.[/ex] ‘Do we have enough money to get a car? ‘Possibly. [/ex] He is quite possibly the most experienced climber in the… …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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