by chance
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 mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.]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:

  • by chance — {adv. phr.} Without any cause or reason; by accident; accidentally. * /Tom met Bill by chance./ * /The apple fell by chance on Bobby s head./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • by chance — {adv. phr.} Without any cause or reason; by accident; accidentally. * /Tom met Bill by chance./ * /The apple fell by chance on Bobby s head./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • by chance — adverb 1. through chance, To sleep, perchance to dream.. • Syn: ↑perchance • Usage Domain: ↑archaism, ↑archaicism 2. by accident betrayed by a word haply overheard • Syn: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • by\ chance — adv. phr. Without any cause or reason; by accident; accidentally. Tom met Bill by chance. The apple fell by chance on Bobby s head …   Словарь американских идиом

  • by chance — we found a signed first edition completely by chance Syn: fortuitously, by accident, accidentally, coincidentally, serendipitously; unintentionally, inadvertently …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • by chance — phrasal in the haphazard course of events < they met by chance > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • by chance — by accident, randomly …   English contemporary dictionary

  • by chance — Synonyms and related words: accidentally, as it chanced, at haphazard, at intervals, at random, by a fluke, by accident, by fits, by good fortune, by hazard, by snatches, capriciously, carelessly, casually, desultorily, erratically, fitfully, for …   Moby Thesaurus

  • by chance — Syn: by accident, fortuitously, accidentally, coincidentally, unintentionally, inadvertently …   Synonyms and antonyms dictionary

  • by chance — 1. Perhaps, perchance, possibly, haply, peradventure, maybe, it may be, as luck may have it. 2. As it happened, as luck would have it, it so happened that, accidentally, it so chanced that …   New dictionary of synonyms

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