What does may mean?

Definitions for may

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage 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.


  1. May

    May is the twenty-eighth single by B'z, released on May 24, 2000. This song is one of B'z many number-one singles in Oricon chart, although sales were not as high as their previous single.


  1. may

    May is a modal verb that is typically used to express possibility, permission, or to make a request. It can also be used to indicate uncertainty or to offer a tentative suggestion or proposition.

  2. May

    May is the fifth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar and has 31 days. It is typically associated with the transition from spring to summer in the Northern Hemisphere and from autumn to winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

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.

  2. May

    May vs. Might -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words May and Might.

  3. May

    May vs. May -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words May and May.

  4. May

    Can vs. May -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Can and May.

  5. May

    May vs. Might -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words May and Might.

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.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. MAY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, May is ranked #304 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The May surname appeared 103,306 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 35 would have the surname May.

    83.5% or 86,312 total occurrences were White.
    9.5% or 9,886 total occurrences were Black.
    3% or 3,141 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.8% or 1,952 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.2% or 1,260 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.7% or 754 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

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. Crystal Aguh:

    You may be completely normal, completely healthy, but there could be something about the red pigment that your body just does not like, if you've never been exposed to it before there would be no way for you to know before getting the tattoo.

  2. Brian Jacobsen:

    I think we'll see some healthy consolidation take place, some may wither on the vine, but technology has improved to make it profitable to extract at a lower price point than last year. As a result, we'll probably see some opportunistic buying.

  3. Secretary General Markus Kattner:

    FIFA and AFC would kindly ask you to abide by the following: first to reinstate the four dismissed ANFA members by May 23, 2016 the latest, and second, to convene an ordinary congress of ANFA as soon as possible thereafter.

  4. Esther George:

    I don’t want to take too much signal from something that could turn out to be noise. I don’t want to overreact to short-term data that may not in the long term really turn out to be significant for that kind of decision.

  5. Dana Litt of the Center:

    One thing parents can do is work with their teens on media literacy techniques to help them view ads critically, for example, discussing who created or paid for the ad, what the ad is targeted to do, and whether the ad shows the full range of alcohol-related consequences( i.e. does it show anything bad about alcohol) may be useful topics to start a conversation and help your teen better understand that alcohol ads communicate the advertiser’s point of view and learn how to challenge what an ad is saying.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for may

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    pose a threat to; present a danger to
    A fudge
    B demolish
    C jeopardize
    D emerge

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