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If, mayhap, the word mayhap looks to you like a relative of its synonym perhaps, you perceive correctly. Both ultimately derive from the Middle English noun hap, meaning "chance" or "fortune." Mayhap was formed by combining the phrase "(it) may hap" into a single word (the word maybe, another synonym of mayhap and perhaps, was developed similarly from may and be). Hap in the phrase is a verb essentially meaning "to happen"; the verb hap comes from the noun hap. Perhaps came about when per, meaning "through the agency of," was combined directly with the noun hap to form one word. Today, mayhap is rare, especially compared to the very common maybe and perhaps, but it does show up occasionally, especially in genres of fiction whose characters speak with an old-timey flair.

Examples of mayhap in a Sentence

mayhap I could see you again next week? I so enjoyed our date tonight
Recent Examples on the Web Given that the Switch is getting up there in years compared to its competition, mayhap a new system is on the horizon, one that might be teased at tomorrow’s Direct? Ash Parrish, The Verge, 7 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mayhap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the phrase may hap

First Known Use

circa 1531, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mayhap was circa 1531


Dictionary Entries Near mayhap

Cite this Entry

“Mayhap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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