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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
may1 /meɪ/USA pronunciation   auxiliary (modal) v. [+ root form of a verb],pres. may;
 past might;
 imperative, infinitive, and participles lacking. 
      • (used to express the possibility or the chances of the occurrence of the main verb):It may rain. You may have been right. He might have been here before us. Her weight may have gone down.
      • (used to express the willingness of the subject to receive or grant permission or have the opportunity):You may see the doctor now. May we have a word with you? If you fail three times, you may appeal to the academic department that offered the course.
  1. (used with another phrase or clause to express that something else follows another idea, esp. in clauses that indicate the condition, purpose, or result of something):Let's agree on this so that (as a result) we may go home early. Difficult as it may seem, I know it can be done.
  2. (used to express a wish or prayer appearing before its subject in an unusual word order):Long may you live! May the couple always be happy and healthy. May we yet see the light of day. Long may the banner wave.
idiom
  1. may as well. (used to express an opinion about a reason for doing or not doing the action of the main verb):I can't stay awake, so I may as well go to bed.

See can. See can1.
May0 /meɪ/USA pronunciation  n. [proper noun]
  • the fifth month of the year, containing 31 days.

  • WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
    may1  (mā), 
    auxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers. may, 2nd may or ( [Archaic] ) may•est or mayst, 3rd may;
     pres. pl. may;
     past might. 
    1. (used to express possibility):It may rain.
    2. (used to express opportunity or permission):You may enter.
    3. (used to express contingency, esp. in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.):I may be wrong but I think you would be wise to go. Times may change but human nature stays the same.
    4. (used to express wish or prayer):May you live to an old age.
    5. [Archaic.](used to express ability or power.) Cf.might1 .
    Etymology:bef. 900;
    Middle English mai 1st and 3rd pers. singular present ind. of mouen, Old English mæg (infinitive magan);
    cognate with German mögen
    See can1. 
    may2  (mā), 
    n. [Archaic.]
    1. a maiden.
    Etymology:bef. 900;
    Middle English mai;
    Old English mæg

    May  (mā), 
    n. 
    1. the fifth month of the year, containing 31 days.
    2. the early part of one's life, esp. the prime:a young woman in her May.
    3. the festivities of May Day.
    4. British Terms(l.c.)[Brit.]the hawthorn.
    5. a female given name.

    v.i. 
    1. (l.c.) to gather flowers in the spring:when we were maying.
    Etymology:
    • Latin, short for Maius mēnsis Maia's month
    • Middle English, Old English Maius bef. 1050

    May  (mā), 
    n. 
    1. Place NamesCape, a cape at the SE tip of New Jersey, on Delaware Bay.


    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    may /meɪ/ vb ( past might)
    takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive used as an auxiliary:
    1. to indicate that permission is requested by or granted to someone: he may go to the park tomorrow if he behaves himself
    2. (often followed by well) to indicate possibility: the rope may break, he may well be a spy
    3. to indicate ability or capacity, esp in questions: may I help you?
    4. to express a strong wish: long may she reign
    5. to indicate result or purpose: used only in clauses introduced by that or so that: he writes so that the average reader may understand
    6. another word for might1
    7. to express courtesy in a question: whose child may this little girl be?
    8. be that as it mayin spite of that: a sentence connector conceding the possible truth of a previous statement and introducing an adversative clause: be that as it may, I still think he should come
    9. come what maywhatever happens
    10. that's as may be ⇒ (followed by a clause introduced by but) that may be so
    Etymology: Old English mæg, from magan: compare Old High German mag, Old Norse
    may /meɪ/ n
    1. Also: may tree
      a Brit name for hawthorn
    Etymology: 16th Century: from the month of May, when it flowers



    May /meɪ/ n
    1. the fifth month of the year, consisting of 31 days
    Etymology: from Old French, from Latin Maius, probably from Maia, Roman goddess, identified with the Greek goddess Maia
    May /meɪ/ n
    1. Robert McCredie. Baron. born 1936, Australian biologist and ecologist



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