Main definitions of might in English

: might1might2

might1

modal verb

  • 1

    past of may
    1. 1.1 Used in reported speech, to express possibility or permission.
      ‘he said he might be late’
      • ‘A Morrison spokesman would not deny a report that the brothers might buy back the company.’
      • ‘A farmer can report what he thinks might be foot and mouth, a vet has to be called, and a blood test done.’
    2. 1.2 Expressing a possibility based on an unfulfilled condition.
      ‘we might have won if we'd played better’
      • ‘A permanent lunar base might then provide a springboard for a trip to Mars.’
      • ‘We had been optimistic that track conditions might suit us during the race, but that did not happen.’
      • ‘We are left to wonder what more it might achieve if conditions were better.’
      • ‘Overall it was a fair performance from the local side who might well have won but for a few crucial errors.’
      • ‘Who knows, but if we had won that day we might not have made the changes that we did make to the panel for the league.’
      • ‘Had Italy turned pressure into tries they might well have won the match.’
      • ‘There was a faint possibility she might have died from the resultant fumes.’
      • ‘I thought the performance against West Brom was good and with a bit more luck we might have won the game.’
      • ‘If this were just a question of her as a reporter that might not have been a problem.’
      • ‘I still remember the time my parents steered me clear of any stall where I might have won a goldfish.’
      • ‘They had no choice but to turn around and go back to conditions that might have ended their lives.’
      • ‘No, she does not, despite the fact his manoeuvre denied her the chance to stand as deputy, a post she might have won.’
    3. 1.3 Expressing annoyance about something that someone has not done.
      ‘you might have told me!’
    4. 1.4 Expressing purpose.
      ‘he avoided social engagements so that he might work’
      • ‘However, Jesus knew that the law was given so that mankind might understand the purposes of God.’
  • 2Used tentatively to ask permission or to express a polite request.

    ‘might I just ask one question?’
    ‘you might just call me Jane, if you don't mind’
    1. 2.1 Asking for information, especially condescendingly.
      ‘and who might you be?’
  • 3Used to express possibility or make a suggestion.

    ‘this might be true’
    ‘you might try pain relievers’
    • ‘There is no suggestion that any schools might close or face restructuring.’
    • ‘I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing.’
    • ‘Powerful minds can project incredibly rich suggestions of what it might feel like, but you don't know.’
    • ‘There are also three reasons to kill off news reports because they might impact stability.’
    • ‘Reports that the guns might be destined for sale to the drugs underworld were dismissed as pure speculation.’
    • ‘We have a few suggestions that might work and they can be summed up in one word: layering.’
    • ‘They might be basing their charges on some kind of analogy to the cost of the hotel room.’
    • ‘But when a friend suggested the story might not be true she contacted the Advertiser for help.’
    • ‘Some might say his report has extended a similar protection to those who govern us.’
    • ‘I've made a few suggestions for things she might add to her site and she's always extremely grateful.’
    • ‘He then asked doctors to phone in with suggestions of what might be wrong with him.’
    • ‘My suggestions for what might be happening were treated with, I felt, derision.’
    • ‘That's important, but I have to remain open to the possibility that now might be the time to cut my losses and flee.’
    • ‘On the issue of what these common values might be, the report provides no answers.’
    • ‘It might endanger other reporters to have it publicly known that this deception is practised.’
    • ‘I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to what might be best for me considering his size.’
    • ‘There was also deep anger at reports that colleges might be privatised.’
    • ‘Do you have any suggestions as to what might be causing it and what I can do to remedy the problem?’
    • ‘Suggestions for reforms that might limit house price inflation are plentiful enough.’
    • ‘Identical reports might elicit different responses from different committees.’

Usage

On the distinction between might and may, see may. For a discussion of the use of might of instead of might have, see have

Phrases

  • might as well

    • 1Used to make an unenthusiastic suggestion.

      ‘I might as well begin’
      • ‘We might as well begin our quest to improve Anglo-German relations at the very top.’
      • ‘And if we're going to disrespect the place, we might as well have the decency to spell it right.’
      • ‘He's never going to go away, you know, so we might as well get used to it.’
      • ‘Someone has to be the focus of the party and it might as well be you.’
      • ‘I suggest to her that they might as well stop giving out tickets for now.’
      • ‘So I might as well stop trying to write novels in which real people move.’
    • 2Used to indicate that a situation is the same as if the hypothetical thing stated were true.

      ‘for readers seeking illumination, this book might as well have been written in Serbo-Croatian’
      • ‘When that hate finds its way into the mainstream consciousness, it might as well be true.’
      • ‘If they're going to make you fight, you might as well do the job properly.’
      • ‘If my husband was going to get ill it might as well be somewhere nice.’
      • ‘The planet is never named, because it might as well be the whole universe in this book.’
      • ‘Okay, that's not quite true, but it might as well be, because bubbly is everywhere in Reims.’
      • ‘Well, if we're going to put up with water-cured bacon, we might as well pay as little as possible for it.’
  • might have known (or guessed)

    • Used to express one's lack of surprise about something.

      ‘I might have known it was you’
      • ‘These numbers reflect the environmental squalor that has amassed over the last few decades, due, as we all might have guessed, to pollution, over harvesting, disease, and habitat loss.’
      • ‘There is, as you might have guessed, a crisis situation.’
      • ‘As you might have guessed, the menu is available in English, though you may have to spend time getting your head around some of the translations.’
      • ‘So we didn't stay there too long, as you might have guessed.’
      • ‘You might have known, in general, that the market was in a bubble.’
      • ‘This day, as you might have guessed, is called a ‘B’ day.’
      • ‘As you might have guessed, it's no ordinary film.’
      • ‘As you might have guessed, there's definitely more to this story.’
      • ‘His more established blog, Law, Science and Technology, focuses on - as you might have guessed - the intersection of law, science, and technology.’
      • ‘If our president had traveled more, he might have known that.’

Pronunciation

might

/mʌɪt/

Main definitions of might in English

: might1might2

might2

noun

mass noun
  • Great and impressive power or strength, especially of a nation, large organization, or natural force.

    ‘a convincing display of military might’
    • ‘More than that, he knew his friend would cope against the might of Real Madrid.’
    • ‘She took on not only the might of the oceans, but also the might of reality, and has triumphed gloriously over both.’
    • ‘Nor has it abated since she gave up fiction to challenge the might of the Indian state’
    • ‘Even against the might of the party machines they will be difficult to dislodge.’
    • ‘The might of the Indian Army was on display as battle tanks and mounted missiles rolled out.’
    • ‘However, he believes in the might of the pen and claims not to have used a computer.’
    • ‘We must encourage our leaders to use their heads rather than their might.’
    • ‘There's no doubting that the might and grandeur of big mountains can make you feel very humble.’
    • ‘The might and depth of the team was immediately evident, and with that comes a rise in the pressure on a driver.’
    • ‘With the might of the US behind them, it's as easy as shooting fish in a barrel for them.’
    • ‘Their security doesn't depend on the might of their individual parts, but their ability to operate as a sum.’
    • ‘It can handle a bit of rough treatment, so kids can use all their might to pull out a stalk.’
    • ‘The empathy was evidently always with the freedom fighter as he took on the might of the oppressor.’
    • ‘He said the pen earlier and now the mouse of the computer is more powerful than the might of the canon.’
    • ‘What has maintained the old world order has been the might of the omnipotent dollar.’
    • ‘He called together the remnants of his tribe and the might of the enemy was overturned.’
    • ‘They should use their might to challenge and change the laws of this land.’
    • ‘The might of the Roman Empire came from its wealth in precious metals, not from its productivity.’
    • ‘Now they face the might of Russia in a qualifier which has huge ramifications for the national side.’
    • ‘The authorities told them they were privileged to witness the might of the Soviet military machine.’
    strength, force, power
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • might is right

    • Those who are powerful can do what they wish unchallenged, even if their action is in fact unjustified.

      ‘he believed that might was right and woe betide anyone who stood in his way’
      • ‘This is an onerous responsibility, a responsibility which cannot be achieved by the notion that might is right.’
      • ‘Societies in which might is right may of course persist with their traditional ways, but they then have to bear the consequences - including, in the long term, that more dynamic neighbours take control.’
      • ‘He explained that, in the invisible world of FM radio waves, might is right.’
      • ‘What's the point of engaging with what's happening around us when truth doesn't matter, might is right, and ethics hold you back and cost you money?’
      • ‘These are the days of might is right and revenge is my right.’
      • ‘We are living under the New World Order where might is right and the propaganda machine creates the truths and facts to serve the cause of that right.’
      • ‘The result would not be a strengthening of the international community but a new form of international vigilantism and the return, in liberal guise, of the principle that might is right.’
      • ‘Bullying is the classic statement that violence is right, that might is right.’
      • ‘Children need discipline and clear boundaries but when parents resort to physical punishment they give out the wrong message that might is right.’
      • ‘Are we adopting a system that declares might is right?’
  • with all one's might

    • Using all one's power or strength.

      ‘he clung on with all his might’
      ‘she had been playing a part with all her might’
      • ‘Though many today people loathe cubicles with all their might, Propst's invention was intended to reduce the anonymity of the workplace.’
      • ‘With her last ounce of strength, she pushed at her assassin with all her might.’
      • ‘As the stranger pretending be Frankie's father, he is so soft-spoken, laid-back and self-effacing that you wish with all your might that he would stay and be Frankie's father forever.’
      • ‘I ripped with all my might, but after a moment, all my strength was gone and I blacked out again.’
      • ‘The drug companies for their part are mounting a blocking action with all their might.’
      • ‘You really have to fight the stereotyping with all your might.’
      • ‘Eventually a wave washed up the beach, and as it rolled over her she gathered her strength and wriggled with all her might.’
      • ‘We have fought with all our might to find an alternative option, which is why today's announcement is so disappointing now.’
      • ‘After embarrassing attempts at kicking with all my might, I was rescued by one of the super-experienced instructors.’
      • ‘The important thing is not to focus on one, but get as much experience in as many places as one can, pumping your creative handle with all your might until the required juice finally appears.’
  • with might and main

    • With all one's strength or power.

      • ‘As I was about to enter the dojo he begged me to fight with might and main adding that if I put my shoulder out again he would soon mend it!’
      with all one's strength, with everything one has got, to the best of one's ability, as hard as one can, as hard as possible, all out, with maximum force, full force, with full force, full blast, with all the stops out, forcefully, powerfully, strongly, vigorously, enthusiastically
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English miht, mieht, of Germanic origin; related to may.

Pronunciation

might

/mʌɪt/