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may Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the month following April and preceding June
  2. 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.
WordNet

May verb
Etymology
AS. pres. mæg I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G. mögen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. . Cf. Dismay, Main strength, Might. The old imp. mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.
Wordforms
imperfect Might
Definitions
  1. 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.
May noun
Etymology
Cf. Icel. mær, Goth. mawi; akin to E. maiden. .
Definitions
  1. A maiden. Obs. Chaucer.
May noun
Etymology
F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess Maia (Gr. ), daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury by Jupiter.
Definitions
  1. The fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days. Chaucer.
  2. The early part or springtime of life.
    His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood. Shak.
  3. (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.
  4. The merrymaking of May Day. Tennyson.

Webster 1913


"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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