with might main


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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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
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Word Origin & History

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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