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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmaymay1 /meɪ/ ●●● S1 W1 modal verb  1 possibilityPROBABLY 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 might I 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).2 possible to do somethingCAN if something may be done, completed etc in a particular way, that is how it is possible to do it syn can The problem may be solved in a number of different ways.3 allowed a) used to say that someone is allowed to do something syn can Thank 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 something May I come in and wait? May we use your office for a few minutes?4 in polite expressions spoken formal used to say, ask, or suggest something in a polite way All 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.5 ALTHOUGHalthough used to say that even though one thing is true, something else which seems very different is also true I 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 something8 purpose formal used after ‘so that’ or ‘in order that’ to say that someone does something in order to make something else possible The hero sacrifices his life so that his friend may live.9 be that as it may10 may wellGRAMMAR: ComparisonmayYou 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. mightIn 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.
Examples from the Corpus
mayBut I got lost in the doing of it, as navigators may, and we went beyond ourselves.They also monitor the production run to make sure that it stays on schedule and correct any problems that may arise.Seven thirty may be too late.To deny this power is dangerous, for, suppressed, it will find another outlet and may erupt uncontrollably.Thank you, you may go now.It will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, and may have a knock-on effect.They may have called when she was in Anaheim.Activities, such as walking, standing, sitting or bending, may have to be learned anew.Altering a passport in any way may make it invalid.Travelers to Qatar may not bring in narcotics or weapons.We may not have class the last week of February, but I'll let you know for sure as the time approaches.You may now kiss the bride.It may pay to be early at Catford where Dromina Duke looks the part in the second race.Worse yet, it may resort to additional expedient action to disguise or defuse the consequences of previous counterproductive actions.The king has ordered a festival so that his son may select a bride.If you forget to move your turkey from freezer to refrigerator in time, you may thaw the turkey in cold water.The Commission may then take one of three actions.may wellDatabase development and a news archiving feature which may well appear as a separate product are also in the pipeline.There may well be a real problem here.It may well be argued that any attempt at locating sUch a remote people is itself an idle one.Moreover, there may well be some very severe doubts about the application of the biological model even to the favourite cases.The two who stay may well be the ones who adapt to the new system the best.It may well change forever the way you look at Greek art.You may well have heard of him.Half a dozen senior people in the energy ministry, recently sacked on suspicion of taking bribes, may well join him.To take them off groundwater may well mean we have to subsidize them some more.
Related topics: Plants
maymay2 noun [uncountable] British English  HBPDLGthe white or pink flowers of the hawthorn
Related topics: Chronology
MayMay ●●● S2 W3 noun [countable, uncountable]  TMCthe fifth month of the year, between April and Junenext/last May She started work here last May.in May The theatre opened in May.on May 6th We don’t have any meetings on May 6th, do we?on 6th May British English An agreement was signed on 6th May 1977.May 6 American English Michael’s getting married May 6.
Examples from the Corpus
MayKaczynski was born May 22,1942, in the quiet Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park.All entries must be postmarked by May 1.Because of the budget stalemate, the $ 175 million only became available in May, Lockhart said.Last May, he said, she erected an altar to witchcraft on his dresser.The park, a short drive south of downtown, is open from late May to early October.The violence on May Day was the direct and predictable result of the absence of boundaries and the abdication of responsibility.May 6This year's selected events are: May 6, Feltham Puffers 24-hour.During May 6 Dixon met with leaders of the Hispanic community and acknowledged many of their grievances.Interview, May 6, 1990, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 8.Schwab initially will offer three types of insurance products to California customers starting May 6.The case was adjourned to May 6 for reports.The case before Barnard Castle magistrates has been adjourned until May 6.
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