may Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “may” - English Dictionary

Definition of "may" - American English Dictionary

See all translations

maymodal verb

 us   /meɪ/ (present tense may, past tense might  /mɑɪt/ )

may modal verb (POSSIBILITY)

used to ​expresspossibility: She said she may ​decide to ​accept the ​joboffer and may not.

may modal verb (PERMISSION)

used to ​ask or give ​permission: May I use ​yourtelephone?

may modal verb (SUGGESTION)

used to make a ​suggestion or ​suggest a ​possibility in a ​polite way: You may ​want to have a ​bite to ​eat before you ​leave.

Maynoun [C/U]

 us   /meɪ/
the fifth ​month of the ​year, after ​April and before ​June
(Definition of may from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Definition of "may" - British English Dictionary

See all translations

maymodal verb

uk   us   /meɪ/

may modal verb (POSSIBILITY)

A2 used to ​expresspossibility: There may be other ​problems that we don't ​know about. I may ​see you ​tomorrow before I ​leave. The ​cause of the ​accident may never be ​discovered. The ​explosion may have been ​caused by a ​faultyelectricalconnection. We'd ​better not ​interfere - she may not like it. There may be some ​evidence to ​suggest she's ​guilty, but it's ​hardlyconclusive.
More examples

may modal verb (PERMISSION)

B1 formal used to ​ask or give ​permission: A ​reader may ​borrow up to six ​books at any one ​time. "May I ​help myself to some more ​food?" "Yes, of ​course." Hi, my name's Tiffany. How may I ​help you?
More examples

may modal verb (WISH)

formal used to ​introduce a ​wish or a ​hope: May you have a ​long and ​fruitfulmarriage.

maynoun [U]

uk   us   /meɪ/ (also may blossom)
the ​flowers of the hawthorntree

Maynoun [C or U]

uk   us   /meɪ/
A1 the fifth ​month of the ​year, after ​April and before ​June: My mother's ​birthday is in May. They got ​married on 12 May. We're ​supposed to be ​moving into new ​offices next May.
More examples
  • We went to Crete last May.
  • His ​birthday is in May.
(Definition of may from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of may?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day
coeducational

having male and female students being taught together in the same school or college rather than separately

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

hyperpalatable adjective
hyperpalatable adjective
August 24, 2015
describes food with heightened levels of sugar and salt, intended to be extremely appealing In Brazil, where the prevalence of overweight and obese adults has doubled since 1980, crisps, biscuits, energy bars and sugary drinks formulated to be ‘hyper-palatable’ are much more widely eaten than previously.

Read More