From Middle English might, myghte, (also maught, macht, maht), from Old English miht, mieht, meaht, mæht (“might, bodily strength, power, authority, ability, virtue, mighty work, miracle, angel”), from Proto-Germanic *mahtiz, *mahtuz (“might, power”), from Proto-Indo-European *mógʰtis, *magʰ- (“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”), Icelandic máttur (“might”).
- (uncountable) Power, strength, force or influence held by a person or group.
- (uncountable) Physical strength.
- He pushed with all his might, but still it would not move.
- (uncountable) The ability to do something.
- (auxiliary) Used to indicate conditional or possible actions.
2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, 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; […].
- I might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
- (auxiliary) simple past tense of Used to indicate permission in past tense.
- He asked me if he might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
- (auxiliary) simple past tense of Used to indicate possibility in past tense.
1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, 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, The China Governess:
- 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.
- I thought that I might go the next day.
- archaic second-person singular simple past - mightest
- nonstandard, archaic third-person singular simple past - mighteth