(Max"i*mum) n.; pl. Maxima [L., neut. from maximus the greatest. See Maxim.] The
greatest quantity or value attainable in a given case; or, the greatest value attained by a quantity which
first increases and then begins to decrease; the highest point or degree; opposed to minimum.
Good legislation is the art of conducting a nation to the maximum of happiness, and the minimum of
misery.P. Colquhoun. Maximum thermometer, a thermometer that registers the highest degree of temperature attained in a
given time, or since its last adjustment.
(Max"i*mum), a. Greatest in quantity or highest in degree attainable or attained; as, a maximum
consumption of fuel; maximum pressure; maximum heat.
(May) v. [imp. Might (mit)] [AS. pres. mæg I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G.
mögen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. &radic103. Cf. Dismay,
Main strength, Might. The old imp. mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.] An auxiliary
verb qualifying the meaning of another verb, by expressing: (a) Ability, competency, or possibility;
now oftener expressed by can.
How may a man, said he, with idle speech,Spenser.
Be won to spoil the castle of his health !
For what he [the king] may do is of two kinds; what he may do as just, and what he may do as possible.Bacon.
For of all sad words of tongue or penWhittier.
The saddest are these: "It might have been."
(b) Liberty; permission; allowance.
Thou mayst be no longer steward.Luke xvi. 2.
(c) Contingency or liability; possibility or probability.
Though what he learns he speaks, and may advancePope.
Some general maxims, or be right by chance.
(d) Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a question or remark.
How old may Phillis be, you ask.Prior.
(e) Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction, and the like. "May you live happily." Dryden.
May be, &and It may be, are used as equivalent to possibly, perhaps, by chance, peradventure.
See 1st Maybe.
(May), n. [Cf. Icel. mær, Goth. mawi; akin to E. maiden. &radic103.] A maiden. [Obs.] Chaucer.
(May), n. [F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess Maia daughter of Atlas and mother
of Mercury by Jupiter.]
1. The fifth month of the year, containing thirty-one days. Chaucer.
2. The early part or springtime of life.
His May of youth, and bloom of lustihood.Shak.
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