1 of 2

auxiliary verb

past tense of may

used to express permission, liberty, probability, or possibility in the past
The president might do nothing without the board's consent.
used to say that something is possible
We might get there before it rains.
I might go, but then again, I might not.
used to express a present condition contrary to fact
If you were older you might understand.
used as a polite alternative to may
Might I ask who is calling?
used as a polite alternative to ought or should
You might at least apologize.
I might have known she'd be late.


2 of 2


: the power, authority, or resources wielded (as by an individual or group)
: bodily strength
: the power, energy, or intensity of which one is capable
ran with all her might
striving with might and main
dialect : a great deal
Choose the Right Synonym for might

power, force, energy, strength, might mean the ability to exert effort.

power may imply latent or exerted physical, mental, or spiritual ability to act or be acted upon.

the awesome power of flowing water

force implies the actual effective exercise of power.

used enough force to push the door open

energy applies to power expended or capable of being transformed into work.

a worker with boundless energy

strength applies to the quality or property of a person or thing that makes possible the exertion of force or the withstanding of strain, pressure, or attack.

use weight training to build your strength

might implies great or overwhelming power or strength.

the belief that might makes right

Examples of might in a Sentence

Noun an impressive display of military might the legal might of the government
Recent Examples on the Web
Auxiliary verb
In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers set out to find signals that might precede earthquakes, looking at a hodgepodge of cues like animal behavior, radon emissions and electromagnetic signals. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2023 Early corporate behavior and statements from executives suggest that companies might be accepting the 1% tax as a cost of doing business, not changing their buyback practices. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 7 Feb. 2023 Urban living or access to green space rather than air pollution might be driving changes in mental health, Hayes said. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 7 Feb. 2023 The last few days might have helped the recruiting pitch, too. Tim Reynolds, Sun Sentinel, 6 Feb. 2023 Larry Bird had a rivalry that brought them both multiple championships and might have saved the NBA in the 1980′s. Tim Reynolds, Hartford Courant, 6 Feb. 2023 Several theories from neuroscience and psychology can point to why some people might be particularly primed to enjoy gambling. Fortune, 6 Feb. 2023 The state’s forfeiture law allows police to seize money, property, and other assets that might be linked to a crime. Nick Stoico, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Feb. 2023 Yeoh’s co-star, Ke Huy Quan, is the overwhelming favorite to win the supporting actor Oscar, and some might think that’s sufficient reward for the film. Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2023
But European defense has rarely thrived without the might of US support. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 The Hamas attack shattered every Israeli assumption of might, superiority and security. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Some of the angst surrounding the Nippon Steel bid draws on memories of an age of American industrial might. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 China is rapidly amassing military might as part of its campaign to eject the United States from the western Pacific—and, perhaps, become the world’s preeminent power. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 26 Jan. 2024 The full coverage set is ideal for the colder months, but won’t give you night sweats like flannel might. Nicola Fumo, Peoplemag, 29 Dec. 2023 With industrial might below that of Chile, Putin’s Russia survives merely by seizing assets. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 20 Dec. 2023 Bridges, skyscrapers, electrical towers: Nothing can withstand his might. Robert Rubsam, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2024 Recorded 90 years ago, the composer’s wondrous piece is a jazzy ode to the romance and mechanical might of train travel. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Auxiliary verb

Middle English, from Old English meahte, mihte; akin to Old High German mahta, mohta could


Middle English, from Old English miht; akin to Old High German maht might, magan to be able — more at may entry 1

First Known Use

Auxiliary Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of might was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near might

Cite this Entry

“Might.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/might. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2

past of may

used as a helping verb to express permission
asked if I might leave
, possibility
we might go, if asked
thought you might try
, or a present condition that does not in fact exist
if you were older, you might understand


2 of 2 noun
: power to do something : force
with all my might

Old English meahte, mihte (an auxiliary verb)


Old English miht "power, might"

More from Merriam-Webster on might

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