What does may mean?

Definitions for may

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word may.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Maynoun

    the month following April and preceding June

  2. whitethorn, English hawthorn, may, Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus oxycanthanoun

    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


  1. Maynoun

    The hawthorn or its blossoms (as it blooms in May)

  2. Maynoun

    The fifth month of the Gregorian calendar, following April and preceding June.

  3. Maynoun

    A female given name from English, pet name for Mary and Margaret, reinforced by the month and plant meaning.

    I will not send Owen's Lily May to the almshouse." "Lily―what?" demanded Mrs. Morley rather sharply, for she was half provoked with what she mentally called Amy's whim of keeping the outcast child when she might send it to the asylum. "Lily May," said Amy, smiling. "Her name is Mary, and we called her first Little Mary, and then Little May. But Owen calls her Lily May."

  4. Maynoun

    A surname.

  5. Etymology: mai, so called because it blossoms in May.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Mayauxiliary verb,

    preterite might.

    Etymology: magan , Saxon; moghen, Dutch.

    He that is sent out to travel with the thoughts of a man, designing to improve himself, may get into the conversation of persons of condition. John Locke, on Education.

    Be the workmen what they may be, let us speak of the work. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    It may be, I shall otherwise bethink me. William Shakespeare.

    How old may Phillis be, you ask,
    Whose beauty thus all hearts engages?
    To answer is no easy task,
    For she has really two ages. Matthew Prior.

    This also tendeth to no more but what the king may do: for what he may do is of two kinds; what he may do as just, and what he may do as possible. Francis Bacon.

    Make the most of life you may. Vincent Bourne.

    May you live happily and long for the service of your country. John Dryden, Æneis. Dedicat. to the.

  2. Maynoun

    The fifth month of the year; the confine of Spring and Summer; the early or gay part of life.

    Etymology: Maius, Latin.

    On a day, alack the day!
    Love, whose month is ever May,
    ’Spied a blossom passing fair,
    Playing in the wanton air. William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour lost.

    Maids are May when they are maids,
    But the sky changes when they are wives. William Shakespeare.

    My liege
    Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
    Ripe for exploits. William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    I’ll prove it on his body, if he dare;
    Despight his nice fence, and his active practice,
    His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood. William Shakespeare.

    May must be drawn with a sweet and amiable countenance, clad in a robe of white and green, embroidered with daffidils, hawthorns, and blue-bottles. Henry Peacham.

    Hail! bounteous May, that do’st inspire
    Mirth and youth, and warm desire;
    Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
    Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. John Milton.

  3. To Mayverb

    To gather flowers on May morning.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    When merry May first early calls the morn,
    With merry maids a maying they do go. Philip Sidney.

    Cupid with Aurora playing,
    As he met her once a maying. John Milton.

Webster Dictionary

  1. May

    an auxiliary verb qualifyng the meaning of another verb, by expressing: (a) Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener expressed by can

  2. Maynoun

    a maiden

  3. Maynoun

    the fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days

  4. Maynoun

    the early part or springtime of life

  5. Maynoun

    the flowers of the hawthorn; -- so called from their time of blossoming; also, the hawthorn

  6. Maynoun

    the merrymaking of May Day

  7. Etymology: [F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess Maia (Gr. Mai^a), daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury by Jupiter.]


  1. May

    May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with the length of 31 days. May is a month of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore May in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of November in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. No other month begins or ends on the same day of the week as May in any year. January of the following year always begins and ends on the same day of the week as May of the current year. The month May was named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for "elders," and that the following month is named for the iuniores, or "young people".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. May

    mā, v.i. to be able: to be allowed: to be free to act: to be possible: to be by chance: to be competent:—pa.t. might (mīt).—adv. May′be, perhaps, possibly.—n. a possibility.—adv. May′hap, perhaps. [A.S. mæg, pr.t. of mugan, to be able, pa.t. mihte; cog. with Goth. magan, Ger. mögen.]

  2. May

    mā, n. the fifth month of the year: the early or gay part of life.—v.i. to gather May (prov. Eng. the blossom of the hawthorn, which blooms in May):—pr.p. May′ing.ns. May′-bee′tle, May′-bug, the cockchafer; May′-bloom, the hawthorn flower; May′day, the first day of May; May′-dew, the dew of May, esp. that of the morning of the first day of May, which is said to whiten linen, and to enable a face washed with it to keep its beauty; May′-duke, a variety of sour cherry; May′-flow′er, the hawthorn, which blooms in May; May′fly, a short-lived fly which appears in May; May′-game, sport such as is usual on 1st May, frolic generally; May′ing, the observance of Mayday sports and games; May′-lā′dy, the queen of the May; May′-lil′y, the lily of the valley, so called because it blooms in May; May′-morn (Shak.), freshness, like that of a morning in May, vigour; May′pole, a pole erected for dancing round on Mayday; May′-queen, a young woman crowned with flowers as queen on Mayday; May′time, May, the season of May. [O. Fr. Mai—L. Maius (mensis, a month), sacred to Maia, the mother of Mercury.]

  3. May

    mā, n. a maid. [A.S. mǽg, a kinswoman.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. May

    the fifth month of the year, so called from a Sanskrit word signifying to grow, as being the shooting or growing month.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. may


Editors Contribution

  1. may

    A month of a specific calendar year.

    May is the fifth month of the year.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 9, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. MAY

    What does MAY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the MAY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Etymology and Origins

  1. May

    The budding or shooting of plants in this month caused the Romans to give it the name of Magius, afterwards shortened into Maius, from the Sanskrit mah, to grow. Eventually this month was held sacred to Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom sacrifices were offered on the first day.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'may' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #81

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'may' in Written Corpus Frequency: #234

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'may' in Verbs Frequency: #19

Anagrams for may »

  1. Amy

  2. MYA

  3. Mya

  4. mya

  5. yam

How to pronounce may?

How to say may in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of may in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of may in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of may in a Sentence

  1. Ian Johnson:

    This type of relationship suggests that chillies may be just a marker for some other dietary or lifestyle factor that hasn't been accounted for but, to be fair, this kind of uncertainty is usually present in epidemiological studies, and the authors do acknowledge this.

  2. Yasutoshi Nishimura:

    The national government and the three governors shared the view that the situation in the Tokyo area is getting more severe such that an emergency declaration may be necessary.

  3. Environmental Protection Agency:

    Environmental Protection Agency is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements, this temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment.

  4. Jeffrey Litchman:

    It actually may be a walk in the park compared to what he's experiencing now.

  5. Yale Law School:

    Yale University and Yale Law School have strong free speech protections, and no student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech. When the Law School receives complaints about offensive communications, the Dean of Students routinely tries to help students talk to one another and resolve their disagreements within the community, at no time was any disciplinary investigation launched or disciplinary action taken in this matter. While any person may report concerns about a lawyers’ character and fitness to the Bar, the Law School has a longstanding policy of reporting only formal disciplinary action to the Bar Association. Any media reporting to the contrary is false.

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    having or resembling a stinger or barb
    • A. contagious
    • B. epidemic
    • C. aculeate
    • D. unsealed

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