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
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.