may Meaning, Definition & Usage
noun the month following April and preceding June
noun thorny Eurasian shrub of small tree having dense clusters of white to scarlet flowers followed by deep red berries; established as an escape in eastern North America
English hawthorn; Crataegus oxycantha; whitethorn; Crataegus laevigata.
An auxiliary verb qualifyng the meaning of another verb, by expressing: (a)Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener expressed by can.
How may a man, said he, with idle speech, Be won to spoil the castle of his health ! Spenser.
For what he [the king] may do is of two kinds; what he may do as just, and what he may do as possible. Bacon.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen The saddest are these: "It might have been." Whittier.
(b) Liberty; permission; allowance.
Thou mayst be no longer steward. Luke xvi. 2.
(c) Contingency or liability; possibility or probability.
Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance Some general maxims, or be right by chance. Pope.
(d) Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a question or remark.
How old may Phillis be, you ask. Prior.
(e) Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction, and the like."May you live happily." Dryden.
A maiden.Obs. Chaucer.
The fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days.Chaucer.
The early part or springtime of life.
His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood. Shak.
(Bot.) The flowers of the hawthorn; -- so called from their time of blossoming; also, the hawthorn.
The palm and may make country houses gay. Nash.
Plumes that micked the may. Tennyson.
The merrymaking of May Day.Tennyson.
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