Definition of "may" [may]

  • To be allowed or permitted to: May I take a swim? Yes, you may. (auxiliary-verb)
  • Used to indicate a certain measure of likelihood or possibility: It may rain this afternoon. (auxiliary-verb)
  • Used to express a desire or fervent wish: Long may he live! (auxiliary-verb)
  • Used to express contingency, purpose, or result in clauses introduced by that or so that: expressing ideas so that the average person may understand. (auxiliary-verb)
  • To be obliged; must. Used in statutes, deeds, and other legal documents. See Usage Note at can1. (auxiliary-verb)
  • To indicate that permission is requested by or granted to someone (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To indicate possibility (verb)
  • To indicate ability or capacity, esp in questions (verb)
  • To express a strong wish (verb)
  • To indicate result or purpose: used only in clauses introduced by that or so that (verb)
  • To express courtesy in a question (verb) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "may" in a sentence
  • "While it may provide some immediate easing of the pain and that's a big *may* this is only delaying the inevitable."
  • "Unless there are any other myths I can dispel, lemme sign off with the reminder that while the feds and/or the state may *may* end up kicking in a share via the enterprise or empowerment zones, the beneficiaries of this deal will not only be these poverty-wage workers, but all of Los Angeles, as lowered poverty brings lowered crime, safer communities, stronger families, less drug use, fewer public health expenditures and more effective schools."
  • "I think WoW's a hot virus -- it'll burn fast and two years from now WoW may be a ghost town *may* be."