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Alternative forms[edit]

  • mite (eye dialect, informal)


Etymology 1[edit]

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. Equivalent to may +‎ -th.

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), and further to Russian мочь (močʹ, power, might) and мощь (moščʹ, force, strength), Ukrainian міч (mič) and міць (micʹ, power), Bulgarian мощ (mošt, power, might), Serbo-Croatian moć (power), Czech moc (power), Polish moc (power). See more at may.


might (countable and uncountable, plural mights)

  1. (countable, uncountable) Power, strength, force or influence held by a person or group.
    Synonyms: authority, potency; see also Thesaurus:power
    • 1549 March 7, Thomas Cranmer [et al.], compilers, “The Introites, Collectes, Epiſtles and Goſpelles, to be uſed at the celebꝛacion of the loꝛdes Supper, & holy Communion, thꝛough the yere, with pꝛoper Pſalmes and Leſſons, for diuers feaſtes and dayes”, in The Booke of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacramentes, [], London: [] Edowardi Whitchurche [], →OCLC, folio xcvii, recto:
      [] ſtrengthed with all myght, thꝛough his gloꝛious power, unto all pacience and long ſufferyng with ioifulneſſe []
    • 1965 March 15, Lyndon B. Johnson, 43:30 from the start, in Special Message to the Congress: The American Promise [on the Voting Rights Act], 3/15/65. MP506.[1], Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum:
      This is the richest, the most powerful country which ever occupied this globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the president who built empires or sought grandeur or extended dominion. I want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world.
    • 1969, [unattributed], Journal of the United Service Institution of India[2], volume 99, page 115:
      Since every nation considers itself right, peace lies in balancing the military mights of the possible rivals.
  2. (uncountable) Physical strength or force.
    Synonyms: brawn, fortitude, pith
    He pushed with all his might, but still it would not move.
  3. (uncountable) The ability to do something.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


might (comparative mighter, superlative mightest)

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

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English meahte and mihte, inflections of magan, whence English may.


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

  1. (auxiliary) simple past of may
    He asked me if he might go to the party, but I haven't decided yet.
    I thought that I might go the next day.
    • 1922, James Frazer, chapter 60, in The Golden Bough[3]:
      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.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter I, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      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: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      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.
    1. Used to indicate a desired past action that was not done.
      You might have warned me about the thunderstorm.
  2. (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:
      “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; [].
  3. (auxiliary) Used to admit something before making a more accurate or important statement.
    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.
  4. (auxiliary) Used in polite requests for permission.
    Might I take the last biscuit?
  5. (auxiliary, UK, meiosis) Used to express certainty.
    Yeah, I think we might need something a bit sturdier.
Usage notes[edit]

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.

  • archaic second-person singular simple past - mightest
  • nonstandard, archaic third-person singular simple past - mighteth
Alternative forms[edit]
  • mought (obsolete outside US dialects)
  • mout (US regional pronunciation spelling)
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


  • might”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.