verbal auxiliary \ˈmā\
past might \ˈmīt\ present singular & plural may

Definition of MAY

a archaic :  have the ability to
b :  have permission to <you may go now> :  be free to <a rug on which children may sprawl — C. E. Silberman> —used nearly interchangeably with can
c —used to indicate possibility or probability <you may be right> <things you may need> ; sometimes used interchangeably with can <one of those slipups that may happen from time to time — Jessica Mitford> ; sometimes used where might would be expected <you may think from a little distance that the country was solid woods — Robert Frost>
—used in auxiliary function to express a wish or desire especially in prayer, imprecation, or benediction <may the best man win>
—used in auxiliary function expressing purpose or expectation <I laugh that I may not weep> or contingency <she'll do her duty come what may> or concession <he may be slow but he is thorough> or choice <the angler may catch them with a dip net, or he may cast a large, bare treble hook — Nelson Bryant>
:  shall, must —used in law where the sense, purpose, or policy requires this interpretation
See Usage Discussion at can

Origin of MAY

Middle English (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from Old English mæg; akin to Old High German mag (1st & 3d singular present indicative) have power, am able (infinitive magan), and perhaps to Greek mēchos means, expedient
First Known Use: before 12th century


noun \ˈmā\

Definition of MAY

:  maiden

Origin of MAY

Middle English, from Old English ̄g kinsman, kinswoman, maiden
First Known Use: before 12th century


noun \ˈmā\

: the fifth month of the year

Full Definition of MAY

:  the fifth month of the Gregorian calendar
often not capitalized :  the early vigorous blooming part of human life :  prime
:  the festivities of May Day
not capitalized
a :  green or flowering branches used for May Day decorations
b :  a plant that yields may: as
(1) :  hawthorn (2) :  a spring-flowering spirea

Examples of MAY

  1. Shakespeare called it the merry month of May.
  2. The last two Mays have been cold and rainy.

Origin of MAY

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French mai, from Latin Maius, from Maia, Roman goddess
First Known Use: 12th century

Other Calendar Terms

antedate, estival, gloaming, luster, sesquicentennial
May 24, 2015
erudite Hear it
learned or pedantic
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