Word of the Day : September 12, 2010

mayhap

play
adverb MAY-hap

Definition

: perhaps

Did You Know?

If "mayhap" looks to you like a relative of its synonym "perhaps," you're right -- the words are related. 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. "Hap" here is a verb essentially meaning "happen" (the word "maybe," another synonym of "mayhap" and "perhaps," was developed similarly from "may" and the verb "be"), and 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 a rare word in contrast with the very common "maybe" and "perhaps," but it does show up occasionally.


Examples

"Mayhap this thought will lead to another, that perhaps we should have second thoughts about becoming a society all about consumption." (The Bismarck Tribune, November 21, 2007)




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