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might definition

Overview

This page has 11 definitions of might in English. Might is a noun, an adjective and verb. Examples of how to use might in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English

Alternative forms

  • mite (eye dialect, informal)

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English myght, might (also maught, macht, maht), from Old English miht, mieht, meaht, mæht (might, bodily strength, power, authority, ability, virtue, mighty work, miracle, angel), from Proto-West Germanic *mahti, from Proto-Germanic *mahtiz, *mahtuz (might, power), from Proto-Indo-European *mógʰtis, *megʰ- (to allow, be able, help), corresponding to Germanic *maganą + *-þiz.

Cognate with Scots micht, maucht (might), North Frisian macht (might, ability), West Frisian macht (might, ability), Dutch macht (might, power), German Macht (power, might), Swedish makt (might), Norwegian makt (power), Icelandic máttur (might), Gothic 𐌼𐌰𐌷𐍄𐍃 (mahts). Related to may.

Noun

might (countable and uncountable, plural mights)

  1. (countable, uncountable) Power, strength, force or influence held by a person or group.
  2. (uncountable) Physical strength or force.
    He pushed with all his might, but still it would not move.
  3. (uncountable) The ability to do something.
Derived terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective

might (comparative mighter, superlative mightest)

  1. (obsolete) Mighty; powerful.
  2. (obsolete) Possible.

Etymology 2

From Old English meahte and mihte, from magan, whence English may.

Verb

might (third-person singular simple present might, no present participle, simple past might, no past participle)

  1. (auxiliary) Used to indicate conditional or possible actions.
    I might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
    • 1608, Joseph Hall, Characters of Virtues and Vices
      The characterism of an honest man: He looks not to what he might do, but what he should.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; []. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, and from time to time squinting sideways, as usual, in the ever-renewed expectation that he might catch a glimpse of his stiff, retroussé moustache.
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; [].
  2. (auxiliary) simple past tense of may Used to indicate permission in past tense.
    He asked me if he might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
    • 1922, James Frazer, The Golden Bough, Chapter 60:
      The king and queen of Tahiti might not touch the ground anywhere but within their hereditary domains; for the ground on which they trod became sacred.
  3. (auxiliary) simple past tense of may Used to indicate possibility in past tense.
    I thought that I might go the next day.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[1]:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
  4. Used to indicate a desired past action that was not done.
    Hey man, you might have warned me about the thunderstorm.
  5. (auxiliary) Even though.
    I might be in a wheelchair, but I still want to be treated as a lady.
    • 2016, Candy Sloan, Wrong Bed Reunion:
      I might play football, but I do know how to read.
  6. (auxiliary) Used in polite requests for permission
    Might I take the last biscuit?
Usage notes

For many speakers, the use as the past tense of the auxiliary may, indicating permission, is obsolete: I told him he might not see her will only be interpreted as "I told him he would possibly not see her," and not as "I told him he was not allowed to see her." For the latter case, "could not" or "was/were not allowed to," "was/were forbidden to," etc., will be used instead.

Conjugation
  • archaic second-person singular simple past - mightest
  • nonstandard, archaic third-person singular simple past - mighteth
Alternative forms
  • mought (obsolete outside US dialects)
  • mout (US regional pronunciation spelling)
Translations

See also

References

  • might at OneLook Dictionary Search