Definition of “maybe” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“maybe” in British English

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maybeadverb

uk /ˈmeɪ.bi/ us /ˈmeɪ.bi/

A2 used to show that something is possible or that something might be true:

Maybe they'll come tomorrow.
Maybe you were right after all.

informal used to show that a number or amount is approximate:

There were 200, maybe 300, refugees on the boat.

A2 used to politely suggest or ask for something:

Maybe Ted would like to go.
Maybe we should start again.

used to avoid giving a clear or certain answer to a question:

"Are you coming to Kelly's party?" "Maybe."

used to mean that something is a possible explanation for why something else happened:

"Why were you chosen for the team and not me?" "Maybe it's because I've been to more practices than you."

More examples

  • "Is she old?" "Fairly old - late sixties maybe."
  • "Can we go to the park after school?" "Maybe - it depends whether I get all my work finished."
  • Maybe you'll get a letter from Daddy in the post today.
  • I think maybe I ought to go round there and apologize for what I said.
  • "Are you going out tonight?" "Maybe, maybe not - I haven't decided yet."

(Definition of “maybe” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“maybe” in American English

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maybeadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈmeɪ·bi/

used to show that something is possible or that something might be true:

Maybe I can get the yard mowed before it rains.
There were maybe (= approximately) 50 people there when I left.

Maybe can also be used to avoid giving a clear or certain answer to a question:

"Are you still going to join me for dinner?" "Maybe."

Maybe can also be used to introduce a possible explanation:

I thought maybe my phone message had scared him off.

(Definition of “maybe” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)