From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmaymay1 /meɪ/ ●●●S1W1 modal verb1possibilityPROBABLY if something may happen or may be true, there is a possibility that it will happen or be true but this is not certain syn mightI may be late, so don’t wait for me.Some chemicals may cause environmental damage.There may not be enough money to pay for the repairs.Well, I may have been wrong.They may have called while you were out.It may be that Minoan ships were built and repaired here.Your job may well involve some travelling (=it is fairly likely).2possible to do somethingCAN if something may be done, completed etc in a particular way, that is how it is possible to do it syn canThe problem may be solved in a number of different ways.3alloweda)used to say that someone is allowed to do something syn canThank you. You may go now.There is a set of rules to show what members may and may not do.You may sit down or stand, just as you wish.No one may own more than 10% of the shares.b)may I/we ...? spoken formal used to ask politely for permission to do somethingMay I come in and wait?May we use your office for a few minutes?4in polite expressions spoken formal used to say, ask, or suggest something in a polite wayAll these things, if I may say so, are entirely irrelevant.Who, may I ask, is Wotherspoon?May I suggest that you consider the matter further before taking any action.5ALTHOUGHalthough used to say that even though one thing is true, something else which seems very different is also trueI may be slow, but at least I don’t make stupid mistakes.Although this may sound like a simple process, great care is needed.Strange as it may seem, I always felt I belonged here.
6 →may as well7 →may somebody/something do something8purpose formal used after ‘so that’ or ‘in order that’ to say that someone does something in order to make something else possibleThe hero sacrifices his life so that his friend may live.9 →be that as it may10 →may wellGRAMMAR: Comparisonmay• You say May I? when asking for permission: May I ask you a question?• You say you may when giving someone permission: You may go now.• You say that something may happen or be true: I may be late.He may be in his office.• You say that something may have happened: They may have already gone home.• You use may not in negative sentences: I may not be here much longer.He may not have understood what you said.might• In everyday English, you can use might in the same way as may to say that something is possible. • You can say that something might happen or be true: I might be late.He might be in his office.• You can say that something might have happened: They might have already gone home.• In everyday English, you can also use might not or mightn’t: I might not be here much longer.He mightn’t have understood.
MayMay ●●●S2W3 noun [countable, uncountable]TMCthe fifth month of the year, between April and Junenext/last MayShe started work here last May.in MayThe theatre opened in May.on May 6thWe don’t have any meetings on May 6th, do we?on 6th May British EnglishAn agreement was signed on 6th May 1977.May 6 American EnglishMichael’s getting married May 6.