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might1

[mahyt]
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auxiliary verb
  1. simple past tense of may1.
  2. (used to express possibility): They might be at the station.
  3. (used to express advisability): You might at least thank me.
  4. (used in polite requests for permission): Might I speak to you for a moment?
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might2

[mahyt]
noun
  1. physical strength: He swung with all his might.
  2. superior power or strength; force: the theory that might makes right.
  3. power or ability to do or accomplish; capacity: the might of the ballot box.
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Idioms
  1. with might and main, with all the vigor, force, or energy at one's command: They pulled with might and main.
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Origin of might2

before 900; Middle English myghte, Old English miht, meaht; cognate with German macht, Gothic mahts; akin to may1
Related formsmight·less, adjective

Synonym study

1–3. See strength.

Antonyms

1–3. weakness.

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

Related Words

potencyefficacyvalorcontrolforceenergyjurisdictionauthoritypowerfulnessget-up-and-goadequacyarmstrengthcapacitysinewpuissanceswaycompetencevigorprowess

British Dictionary definitions for might

might1

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

OE miht

xref

See may 1

might2

noun
  1. power, force, or vigour, esp of a great or supreme kind
  2. physical strength
  3. (with) might and main See main 1 (def. 8)
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Word Origin

Old English miht; compare Old High German maht, Dutch macht

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 might

v.

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

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n.

Old English miht, earlier mæht "might, bodily strength, power, authority, ability," from Proto-Germanic *makhti- (cf. Old Norse mattr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch macht, Old High German maht, German Macht, Gothic mahts), Germanic suffixed form of PIE root *magh- (1) "be able, have power" (see may (v.)).

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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 might

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.