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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ You should make it as happy as you possibly can.
▪ Get as many intelligent citizens as you possibly can to write urgently upon this subject to their representatives and Senators in Congress.
▪ You can not blame him for trying to cram as much into 90 minutes as he possibly can.
▪ We all want to put the best team on the ice as we possibly can.
▪ As for crime and robberies, that is carrying just as heavy a burden now as it possibly can.
▪ Memphis Archives has made these 24 recorded relics sound as good as primitive recordings possibly can.
▪ He's going to stay at least three weeks, possibly longer.
▪ He's playing in the US Open Golf Championships - possibly for the last time.
▪ How could anyone possibly do that to her?
▪ I have everything I could possibly need.
▪ Many analysts believe interest rates will rise, possibly as early as next spring.
▪ Stone is possibly America's finest film director.
▪ The cancer was possibly caused by exposure to asbestos.
▪ The examination hall was vast, with at least 700 or 800 student and quite possibly as many as 1000.
▪ Trade between the two countries began in the 11th century, possibly even earlier.
▪ You can't possibly go to all those stores in one day.
▪ Could it possibly apply to human beings?
▪ He looked at me as though I were very young and possibly a trifle slow.
▪ In the following pages a number of the more visible and possibly more successful and productive organizations are identified and described.
▪ No-one else can possibly picture what you suffer.
▪ No such claim could possibly be made for the Smolensk, Kursk, or Poltava gubernii.
▪ The cilia in the respiratory tract hasten the exit from the body of possibly harmful foreign material.
▪ They may insist on payment by instalments, possibly spread throughout the whole of your notice period.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

May \May\ (m[=a]), v. [imp. Might (m[imac]t)] [AS. pres. m[ae]g I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G. m["o]gen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. [root]103. 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 mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.]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:

  1. Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener expressed by can.

    How may a man, said he, with idle speech, 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.

    For of all sad words of tongue or pen The saddest are these: ``It might have been.''

  2. Liberty; permission; allowance.

    Thou mayst be no longer steward.
    --Luke xvi. 2.

  3. Contingency or liability; possibility or probability.

    Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance Some general maxims, or be right by chance.

  4. Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a question or remark.

    How old may Phillis be, you ask.

  5. Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction, and the like. ``May you live happily.''

    May be, & It may be, are used as equivalent to possibly, perhaps, maybe, by chance, peradventure. See 1st Maybe.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1400, from possible (adj.) + -ly (2).


adv. 1 (context modifying a clause or predicate English) (non-gloss definition: Indicates that the proposition may be true (is not certainly false) regardless of any facts or circumstances known to, stated by or implied by the speaker.) 2 (context modifying a verb English) (non-gloss definition: Indicates that the action may successfully be performed (is not impossible) regardless of any facts or circumstances known to, stated by or implied by the speaker that might limit the performance.)

  1. adv. by chance; "perhaps she will call tomorrow"; "we may possibly run into them at the concert"; "it may peradventure be thought that there never was such a time" [syn: perchance, perhaps, maybe, mayhap, peradventure]

  2. with a possibility of becoming actual; "introducing possibly dangerous innovations"; "he is potentially dangerous"; "potentially useful" [syn: potentially]

  3. in a manner or to a degree possible of conceiving; "is it possibly true?" [ant: impossibly]

  4. to a degree possible of achievement or by possible means; "they can't possibly get here in time for the funeral?" [ant: impossibly]

Usage examples of "possibly".

And when I asked him how an abo could possibly have known what copper looked like in the ground, he said the man had been employed at one of the mines near Nullagine.

Possibly the gums or the inside of the cheeks may have been scratched or abraded with a pin.

Tronchin would provide could not possibly be as comfortable and as safe as mine, and I entreated her to take it, assuring her that by accepting it she would give me a last proof of her affection.

His real mission, of course, is to convince some other band, somewhere else, that he is a genius acoustician who has developed the ultimate amplifier and that Doggone amps are the only amps that any hip band can possibly consider.

The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in any reasonable temporary State arrangement for the freed people is made with the view of possibly modifying the confusion and destitution which must at best attend all classes by a total revolution of labor throughout whole States.

You must decide if your remaining chance is worth denying yourself admittance to Joy Hall until after menopause, because every time you return there it shall be up to two months hence before you can possibly conceive.

If the Empire were to become truly organized, they would certainly put down the ogrilloi and the human bandits, and kill the dragons and trolls and griffins, possibly the elves and dwarves and all the other things that make Adventuring entertaining in the first place.

We might not have enough forces to aggressively seek out and suppress Iraqi artillery and multiple-rocket launchers that Iraq would use to fire chemical and possibly biological weapons at our troops.

And hard on the heels of that thought, she had to wonder if she could have possibly allowed her agoraphobia to become a convenient excuse to justify her career choices and a lifestyle some would consider eccentric.

The idea was that some of the most interesting tapes could be released on a cheap-label album, possibly monthly like a magazine.

At the thought, Aller strapped a first-aid kit to his side and set out toward the crater, in the face of the obvious fact that nothing human could possibly have survived such a crash.

As arrangements were already in progress for the purchase of Barnton Spinnies, Sir Alured could not possibly leave his own house.

Even forgetting the other considerations that kept her at Amalgamated, no one could possibly expect her to throw away all those years of hard work just because some foundling child might be scared by reliving a traumatic incident of her past.

If it was the wonderful Amalgamation I was going to be all that grateful to, who else could possibly be responsible?

The impossibility of examining into the merits of individuals by tens of thousands, and of establishing the quality and degree of their offenses, was so obvious that representatives on both sides of the House demanded an Act of general amnesty, excepting therefrom only the few classes whose names would lead to discussion and possibly to the defeat of the beneficent measure.