May

Definitions

  • "'May I offer you a lozenge?'"
    "'May I offer you a lozenge?'"
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n may 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
    • n May the month following April and preceding June
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

"May turned away, feeling ashamed and miserable." "May turned away, feeling ashamed and miserable."
May practises her spelling with Tabby beside her May practises her spelling with Tabby beside her
Letter to Mr. Lillie. Friday Tenth May 1861 Letter to Mr. Lillie. Friday Tenth May 1861
Making “trialls” of iron. Evidences of an earth oven or small furnace were discovered at Jamestown during archeological explorations. Small amounts of iron may have been smelted in the furnace during the early years of the settlement. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.) Making “trialls” of iron. Evidences of an earth oven or small furnace were discovered at Jamestown during...
Lead and copper pipes, kettle fragments, a brass spigot, and other items found which may have been used for brewing or distilling purposes Lead and copper pipes, kettle fragments, a brass spigot, and other items found which may have been used for brewing...
Decorated brass book clasps found near Jamestown which may have been used on an early Bible or prayer book Decorated brass book clasps found near Jamestown which may have been used on an early Bible or prayer book
MAY BE LED TO TRY IT ON HIMSELF MAY BE LED TO TRY IT ON HIMSELF
Cirrus from South Kensington, 1906, May 29 Cirrus from South Kensington, 1906, May 29

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: May babies are on average 200 grams heavier than babies born in other months
    • n May A maiden.
    • v May An auxiliary verb qualifying the meaning of another verb, "How may a man, said he, with idle speech,
      Be won to spoil the castle of his health!"
      "For what he [the king may do is of two kinds; what he may do as just, and what he may do as possible.""For of all sad words of tongue or pen
      The saddest are these: “It might have been.”"
      "Thou mayst be no longer steward.""Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance
      Some general maxims, or be right by chance."
      "How old may Phillis be, you ask.""May you live happily."
    • May The early part or springtime of life. "His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood."
    • May The fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days.
    • May (Bot) The flowers of the hawthorn; -- so called from their time of blossoming; also, the hawthorn. "The palm and may make country houses gay.""Plumes that mocked the may ."
    • May The merrymaking of May Day.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Cards may not be played in the street with a Native American.
    • may A. As an independent verb, or as a quasi-auxiliary: To have power; have ability; be able; can. In the absolute original use, ‘can,’ now rare (being superseded by can) except where a degree of contingency is involved, when the use passes insensibly into the later uses. The uses of may are much involved, the notions of power, ability, opportunity, permission, contingency, etc., passing into each other, and may in many constructions being purposely or inevitably used with more or less indefiniteness. The principal uses are as follows: To indicate subjective ability, or abstract possibility: rarely used absolutely (as in the first quotation), but usually with an infinitive (not, however, as a mere auxiliary). See also mow.
    • may To indicate possibility with contingency.
    • may In this sense, when a negative clause was followed by a contingent clause with if, may in the latter clause was formerly used elliptically, if I may meaning ‘if I can control it’ or ‘prevent it.’
    • may Sometimes may is used merely to avoid a certain bluntness in putting a question, or to suggest doubt as to whether the person to whom the question is addressed will be able to answer it definitely.
    • may The preterit might is similarly used, with some slight addition of contempt.
    • may To indicate opportunity, moral power, or the absolute power residing in another agent.
    • may In this sense may is scarcely used now in negative clauses, as permission refused amounts to an absolute prohibition, and accordingly removes all doubt or contingency.
    • may To indicate desire, as in prayer, aspiration, imprecation, benediction, and the like. In this sense might is often used for a wish contrary to what can or must be: as, O that I might recall him from the grave !
    • may In law, may in a statute is usually interpreted to mean must, when used not to confer a favor, but to impose a duty in the exercise of which the statute shows that the public or private persons are to be regarded as having an interest.
    • may In conditional clauses. [Rare, except in clauses where permission is distinctly expressed.]
    • may In concessive clauses.
    • may In clauses expressing a purpose.
    • n may A kinsman.
    • n may A person.
    • n may A maiden; a virgin.
    • n may The fifth month of the year, consisting of thirty-one days, reckoned on the continent of Europe and in America as the last month of spring, but in Great Britain commonly as the first of summer.
    • n may Figuratively, the early part or springtime of life.
    • n may [lowercase] The hawthorn: so called because it blooms in May. Also May-bush.
    • n may Some other plant, especially species of Spiræa: as, Italian may.
    • n may The festivities or games of May-day.
    • n may In Cambridge University, England, the Easter-term examination.
    • may To celebrate May-day; take part in the festivities of Mayday: chiefly or only in the verbal noun maying and the derivative mayer: as, to go a maying.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays may be jailed.
    • v.i May to be able: to be allowed: to be free to act: to be possible: to be by chance: to be competent
    • pa.t May might (mīt)
    • n May a possibility
    • n May the fifth month of the year: the early or gay part of life
    • v.i May to gather May (prov. Eng. the blossom of the hawthorn, which blooms in May):—pr.p. May′ing
    • May (n.) a maid.
    • ***

Quotations

  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “May I always be worth of my friends.”
  • George Bernard Shaw
    George%20Bernard%20Shaw
    “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    Samuel%20Johnson
    “Sir, a man may be so much of everything, that he is nothing of anything.”
  • Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort
    Sebastien-Roch%20Nicolas%20De%20Chamfort
    “Whatever evil a man may think of women, there is no woman but thinks more.”
  • Benjamin Franklin
    Benjamin%20Franklin
    “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”
  • Lord Byron
    Lord%20Byron
    “Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure, there is no sterner moralist than pleasure.”

Idioms

Be that as it may - Be that as it may is an expression which means that, while you are prepared to accept that there is some truth in what the other person has just said, it's not going to change your opinions in any significant manner.
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Come what may - If you're prepared to do something come what may, it means that nothing will stop or distract you, no matter how hard or difficult it becomes.
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Devil may care - If you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.
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Grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow - 'The grass may be greener on the other side but it's just as hard to mow' is an expression used to mean a person's desire to have that which another person has in the belief it will make their life easieris false as all situations come with their own set of problems.
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I may be daft, but I'm not stupid - I might do or say silly things occasionally, but in this instance I know what I am doing (Usually used when someone questions your application of common-sense).
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Let the chips fall where they may - This means that we shouldn't try to control events, because destiny controls them.
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May-December romance - When one person in a relationship is a lot older than the other, it is a May-December romance ('May-December love affair' is also used).
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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me - To be resistant to criticism. This is often said to young children upset over the fact that another child called them something that they did not like.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. pres. mæg, I am able, pret. meahte, mihte,; akin to D. mogen, G. mögen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche,. √103. Cf. Dismay Main strength, Might. The old imp. mought, is obsolete, except as a provincial word
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. mǽg, a kinswoman.

Usage

In literature:

Allison may in time forgive her husband, and may end in loving him after all.
"Allison Bain" by Margaret Murray Robertson
In music, the gifted girl may be a teacher, or may appear in public as a player or singer, or she may combine teaching with public appearances.
"The Canadian Girl at Work" by Marjory MacMurchy
Still, as she may sail on short notice, we may not see you again.
"The Flag of Distress" by Mayne Reid
Interest may blind the judgment, and spurious history may deceive.
"Mysteries of Bee-keeping Explained" by M. Quinby
If no mouse be caught, the same cat may continue, or the teacher may choose another at her discretion.
"Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium" by Jessie H. Bancroft
A stern critic may also, and in truth, aver that terms are included on our roll the which are not altogether of maritime usage.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Yes; no Christian may now enter here, may hardly look into the walled court round the building.
"The Bertrams" by Anthony Trollope
Hearts may 'gree though heads may differ.
"The Proverbs of Scotland" by Alexander Hislop
We may see a subject to be so very full that it may strike us it would do for some other occasion.
"The Life of Trust: Being a Narrative of the Lord's Dealings With George Müller" by George Müller
He may cut it down; and, if he please, he may beat it as long as he has the power to raise an arm.
"Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments" by Various
The movement may or may not be continuous.
"Sound Military Decision" by U.s. Naval War College
The patient may or may not be unconscious, but he may take no notice of what is going on around him.
"Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts" by Girl Scouts
ANDREW J. LEWIS, musician, mustered in Aug. 14, 1862; prisoner of war from May 3 to May 22, 1863; mustered out with company May 24, 1863.
"War from the Inside" by Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
They may not follow him into the house (that is, the fort), but may surround it at one hundred yards distance.
"Boy Scouts Handbook" by Boy Scouts of America
Whatever they may say, whatever their alleged opinions may be, matters not a straw.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
You may tell him from me as he may do his own.
"Is He Popenjoy?" by Anthony Trollope
For I am an old man, and I may remember the building of Tenterden Steeple, and I may remember when there was no steeple at all there.
"Logic, Inductive and Deductive" by William Minto
The pupils of the eyes may be unusually large or small, or one may be large while the other is small.
"American Red Cross Text-Book on Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick" by Jane A. Delano
The attacks may be no more than one or two in the day, or twenty may occur in a single hour.
"The Dog" by Dinks, Mayhew, and Hutchinson
May Dashwood was coming!
"The New Warden" by Mrs. David G. Ritchie
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In poetry:

Yet the sad shame that fill'd his breast,
May well thy pity crave,
A turtle dove may build her nest
Upon thy father's grave--"
"Edgar And Ellen" by Matilda Betham
Grief may have thought it was grief.
Care may have thought it was care.
They were welcome to their belief,
The overimportant pair.
"They Were Welcome To Their Belief" by Robert Frost
There is a tale in ev'ry flow'r,
Which none may whisper, none may tell,
A secret thing in ev'ry bower,
Which ev'ry tenant hideth well.
"Things Mysterious" by Thomas Frederick Young
Then, may we never let the shade
Of bitter trouble and despair,
Hide from our eyes the happy gleams,
Which even we, at times, may share.
"Happiness" by Thomas Frederick Young
"And urge me not, my own Geraldine !
For it may not, cannot be !
I am doom'd to this, and I may not miss,
But none must watch with me ....
"The Perjured Nun" by Anne Bannerman
So that the world may ne'er regret
The mighty work that's been performed,
And so that Time his seal may set
Upon their future all adorned.
"The Triumph Of Liberty" by James Madison Bell

In news:

The next Theological Study at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ will focus on "Thees, Thous and the King James Bible " on Wednesday, May 4 and Wednesday, May 11.
South Peninsula Sportsmen's Association held its Eighth Annual International Calcutta/King Salmon Tournament on May 10 and May 11.
They may be a bit smaller than in the past, and they may not serve all the same functions they did a few years ago, but the island remains an integral part of a kitchen.
52pm Thursday May 30th, 2002 and in print issue #0117 dated Thursday May 30th, 2002.
(May 2008) posted on Sun May 11, 2008.
(CBS News) While liposuction may be a way to get a skinnier stomach, new research shows it may spur on the growth of another kind of fat.
(May 2006) posted on Wed May 10, 2006.
If you would like to be put onto the waiting list for tickets that may not be used by season ticket holders you may call 633-5454 for details.
He can merely advise election officials, who may or may not follow his legal advice —.
On a simple project that's going to last 9 months to a year, we may mark up differently, meaning less, than we may mark up a little three- or four-day bathroom.
May Pole at Keller Public Library May 1, 2012.
It's May, which always reminds me of Judy and Dan Witmer, who have made May wine every May for the past 20 years of their 40-year Island residency.
(May 2009) posted on Tue May 19, 2009.
(May 2006) posted on Wed May 03, 2006.
David Frum says abortion may be the hottest social issue, but it may not always be so.
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In science:

Note that E may have torsion and thus (E , Q) may not be stable even if F is stable (for instance, taking E ′ to be the torsion subsheaf ).
Factorization of generalized theta functions at reducible case
We may replace r by r + N so that we may assume that r ≥ N and that r + n − (g1 , g2) > 0.
Generalized vertex algebras generated by parafermion-like vertex operators
Thus galaxies with luminosities much higher than the MW may well be observed in CO but may not have MW type dust.
Cosmic Dust in the 21st Century
Here however the fundamental groups of the boundary and inside may be different, and the paths are in the 3-manifold ∂M so may be knotted.
Dual 2-complexes in 4-manifolds
A simple walk of p steps on the lattice of integers, may be coded by a sequence {µ1 , .., µp}, where each µk may take the values 1 (right move) or −1 (left move).
Enumeration of simple random walks and tridiagonal matrices
We shall prove this by induction on Nα = Pn s=1 ms (there may be more than one way to write ∂ (α) as in (18), and so Nα may not be uniquely defined.
Simple algebras of Weyl type
Not that the sites between i and k may or may not be connected to the center.
Correlation effects in a simple model of small-world network
One may even go one step further: although single-inclusive spectra for different particle species may have the same slope parameter, this does not mean that the system is in thermal equilibrium.
Remarks on the extraction of freeze-out parameters
This squares may or may not define the visible parts of cubes, depending on T .
An algorithm to generate exactly once every tiling with lozenges of a domain
Furthermore, they are, in general, ”degenerate”: there may be multiple connections between vertices and certain links may connect a vertex to itself 1 .
Defining statistical ensembles of random graphs
This may be an indication that the self-duality conjecture of either of these theories cannot be tested at the level of supergravity dual and some non perturbative techniques may be required.
On decoupled theories in (5+1) dimensions from (F,D1,NS5,D5) supergravity configuration
The corresponding Lie algebra g may be identified with C∞(R), and we may identify g∗ , the space of densities on R, with g.
A Frame Bundle Generalization of Multisymplectic Momentum Mappings
Hence we may identify ′Y with a subgroup of t and ′X with a subgroup of t∗ and we may regard ′R ⊂ t∗ , ′ ˇR ⊂ t.
Classification of unipotent representations of simple p-adic groups,II
Since (Z 0 J )♠ = T♠ (both may be identified with , expT ) we may regard this orbit as a Wt -orbit c in T♠ .
Classification of unipotent representations of simple p-adic groups,II
This test may be used as a way to identify track outliers. A measurement with a χ2 value corresponding to the (1 − α) quantile may be rejected as not belonging to the track.
A Search for Gamma-Ray Bursts and Pulsars, and the Application of Kalman Filters to Gamma-Ray Reconstruction
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