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mayst

[meyst]
verb Archaic.
  1. 2nd person singular present indicative of may1.
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may1

[mey]
auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person may, 2nd may or (Archaic) may·est or mayst, 3rd may; present plural 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, 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.
  4. (used to express wish or prayer): May you live to an old age.
  5. Archaic. (used to express ability or power.)
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Compare might1.

Origin of may1

before 900; Middle English mai 1st and 3rd person singular present indicative of mouen, Old English mæg (infinitive magan); cognate with German mögen
Can be confusedcan may shall will (see usage note at can1) (see usage note at shall)may might must (see synonym study at must1)

Usage note

See can1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mayst

Historical Examples

  • Who has said, with grateful lips, "Mayst thou flow on for ever?"

    The Amores, or Amours

    Ovid

  • Hence the proverbial curse: "Mayst thou have an equal at home."

    Dante. An essay.

    R. W. Church

  • "And so mayst thou," called out a voice from among the violins.

    Spanish Highways and Byways

    Katharine Lee Bates

  • Is it that thou, too, even as I, mayst be persecuted with false accusations?'

  • Thou, the descendant of kings, mayst not longer dwell with slaves.


British Dictionary definitions for mayst

mayst

mayest

verb
  1. archaic, or dialect (used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent) a singular form of the present tense of may 1
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May1

noun
  1. the fifth month of the year, consisting of 31 days
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Word Origin

from Old French, from Latin Maius, probably from Maia, Roman goddess, identified with the Greek goddess Maia

May2

noun
  1. Robert McCredie, Baron. born 1936, Australian biologist and ecologist
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may1

verb 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 someonehe may go to the park tomorrow if he behaves himself
  2. (often foll by well) to indicate possibilitythe rope may break; he may well be a spy
  3. to indicate ability or capacity, esp in questionsmay I help you?
  4. to express a strong wishlong may she reign
  5. to indicate result or purpose: used only in clauses introduced by that or so thathe writes so that the average reader may understand
  6. another word for might 1
  7. to express courtesy in a questionwhose 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 clausebe that as it may, I still think he should come
  9. come what may whatever happens
  10. that's as may be (foll by a clause introduced by but) that may be so
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Word Origin

Old English mæg, from magan: compare Old High German mag, Old Norse

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

noun
  1. an archaic word for maiden
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Word Origin

Old English mæg; related to Old High German māg kinsman, Old Norse māgr a relative by marriage

may3

noun
  1. Also: may tree a Brit name for hawthorn
  2. short for may blossom
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Word Origin

C16: from the month of May, when it flowers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mayst

may

v.1

Old English mæg "am able" (infinitive magan, past tense meahte, mihte), from Proto-Germanic root *mag-, infinitive *maganan (Old Frisian mei/muga/machte "have power, may;" Old Saxon mag/mugan/mahte; Middle Dutch mach/moghen/mohte; Dutch mag/mogen/mocht; Old High German mag/magan/mahta; German mag/mögen/mochte; Old Norse ma/mega/matte; Gothic mag/magan/mahte "to be able"), from PIE *magh- (1) "to be able, have power" (cf. Greek mekhos, makhos "means, instrument," Old Church Slavonic mogo "to be able," mosti "power, force," Sanskrit mahan "great"). Also used in Old English as a "auxiliary of prediction."

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May

fifth month, early 12c., from Old French mai and directly from Latin Majus, Maius mensis "month of May," possibly from Maja, Maia, a Roman earth goddess (wife of Vulcan) whose name is of unknown origin; possibly from PIE *mag-ya "she who is great," fem. suffixed form of root *meg- "great" (cognate with Latin magnus). Replaced Old English þrimilce, month in which cows can be milked three times a day. May marriages have been considered unlucky at least since Ovid's day. May-apple attested from 1733, American English.

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may

v.2

"to take part in May Day festivities," late 15c., from May. Related: Mayed; maying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mayst

may

see be that as it may; come what may; let the chips fall where they may; to whom it may concern.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.