1 [mahyt]
auxiliary verb
simple past tense of may1.
(used to express possibility): They might be at the station.
(used to express advisability): You might at least thank me.
(used in polite requests for permission): Might I speak to you for a moment?
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2 [mahyt]
physical strength: He swung with all his might.
superior power or strength; force: the theory that might makes right.
power or ability to do or accomplish; capacity: the might of the ballot box.
with might and main, with all the vigor, force, or energy at one's command: They pulled with might and main.

before 900; Middle English myghte, Old English miht, meaht; cognate with German macht, Gothic mahts; akin to may1

mightless, adjective

1–3. See strength.

1–3. weakness.


1 [mey]
auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person may, 2nd may or (Archaic) mayest or mayst, 3rd may; present plural may; past might.
(used to express possibility): It may rain.
(used to express opportunity or permission): You may enter.
(used to express contingency, especially 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.
(used to express wish or prayer): May you live to an old age.
Archaic. (used to express ability or power.)
Compare might1.

before 900; Middle English mai 1st and 3rd person singular present indicative of mouen, Old English mæg (infinitive magan); cognate with German mögen

may, might, must (see synonym study at must).

See can1.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
may1 (meɪ)
vb (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive used as an auxiliary) , past might
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 foll 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 might
7.  to express courtesy in a question: whose child may this little girl be?
8.  be that as it may in 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 may whatever happens
10.  (foll by a clause introduced by but) that's as may be that may be so
usage  It was formerly considered correct to use may rather than can when referring to permission as in: you may use the laboratory for your experiments, but this use of may is now almost entirely restricted to polite questions such as: may I open the window? The use of may with if in constructions such as: your analysis may have been more more credible if … is generally regarded as incorrect, might being preferred: your analysis might have been more credible if

may2 (meɪ)
an archaic word for maiden
[Old English mæg; related to Old High German māg kinsman, Old Norse māgr a relative by marriage]

may3 (meɪ)
1.  a Brit name for hawthorn Also: may tree
2.  short for may blossom
[C16: from the month of May, when it flowers]

May1 (meɪ)
the fifth month of the year, consisting of 31 days
[from Old French, from Latin Maius, probably from Maia, Roman goddess, identified with the Greek goddess Maia]

May2 (meɪ)
Robert McCredie. Baron. born 1936, Australian biologist and ecologist

might1 (maɪt)
1.  making the past tense or subjunctive mood of may : he might have come last night
2.  (often foll by well) See may expressing theoretical possibility: he might well come. In this sense might looks to the future and functions as a weak form of may

might2 (maɪt)
1.  power, force, or vigour, esp of a great or supreme kind
2.  physical strength
3.  (with) might and main See main
[Old English miht; compare Old High German maht, Dutch macht]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. mæg "I am able" (inf. magan, p.t. meahte, mihte), from P.Gmc. root *mag-, inf. *maganan (cf. O.Fris. muga, O.N. mega, Du. mogen, Ger. mögen, Goth. magan "to be able"), from PIE *mogh-/*megh- "power" (cf. Gk. mekhos, makhos "means, instrument," O.C.S. mogo "to be able," mosti "power,
force," Skt. mahan "great"). Also related to might (q.v.).

1110, from O.Fr. mai, from L. Majus, Maius mensis "month of May," possibly from Maja, Maia a Roman earth goddess (wife of Vulcan) whose name is possibly from PIE *mag-ya "she who is great," fem. suffixed form of base *meg- "great" (cognate with L. magnus). Replaced O.E. þrimilce, month in which
cows can be milked three times a day. May marriage have been considered unlucky at least since Ovid's day. Mayflower (1626) was used locally for the cowslip, the lady's smock, and other plants that bloom in May. May apple attested from 1733.

O.E. mihte, meahte, originally the past tense of may (O.E. magen "to be able"), thus "*may-ed." See may (v.). The first record of might-have-been is from 1848.

O.E. miht, earlier mæht, from P.Gmc. *makhtuz (cf. O.N. mattr, O.Fris., M.Du. macht, Ger. Macht, Goth. mahts), from PIE base *mag- "be able, have power" (see may (v.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It is then easy to see how the power company might lower price and expand to
  six units or more.
But the full power of multi-touch technology might be unleashed in screens far
  larger than those on phones.
And at first glance, the answer might seem to be an obvious no.
No doubt, she might end up doing less work than a student who wrote a paper
  from scratch in my composition course.
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