Definition of maybe in US English:



  • Perhaps; possibly.

    ‘maybe I won't go back’
    ‘maybe she'd been wrong to accept this job’
    • ‘So, why is it not possible to stagger half term and summer breaks for maybe a week by county?’
    • ‘I don't know, but maybe the millions who saw her on the news would like to know if the baby was a boy or a girl.’
    • ‘Does he ever wonder if maybe by now he should have grown out of his grand obsession with football?’
    • ‘Certainly now it is not possible to provide this level of service, and maybe it never was.’
    • ‘They're given to guys who have maybe had an injury or who are suffering from a drink problem.’
    • ‘So basically, it's as good as it used to be, but maybe that's not good enough any more.’
    • ‘Last season we thought we were good enough to win the title, but maybe not mature enough.’
    • ‘We felt it was maybe the time to let him go because we were waiting on the next bit of front-page news.’
    • ‘We were at Kempton when he won the King George and we just thought that maybe this was going to be his day.’
    • ‘Well, it was hard, but maybe you realise that a normal person can go out and do what they are doing.’
    • ‘He doesn't look his age, but then few of these men do, maybe because they don't act it.’
    • ‘Then again, maybe if I ask nicely, the boss will let me string a hammock under my desk.’
    • ‘You can set up your kids, and maybe even their kids, while doing something you enjoy.’
    • ‘He's not been able to show it recently but I feel he's maybe needing a goal or two to give him a lift.’
    • ‘He's a better player, maybe because the type of ball he receives here suits his game.’
    • ‘Maybe it was part of a grand plan or maybe that's what he would want us to think.’
    • ‘If we manage to beat them in the league this year, well, maybe we will win the league.’
    • ‘It was maybe a mother's instinct which made me believe that somehow it would all work out.’
    • ‘Maybe it was the Christmas feeling or maybe it was just the way she looked at me.’
    • ‘Playing for the club you supported as a boy and live nearby, maybe you take that for granted.’
    perhaps, possibly, conceivably, it could be, it could be that, it is possible, it is possible that, for all one knows
    View synonyms


  • A mere possibility or probability.

    ‘no ifs, buts, or maybes’
    • ‘The difference was, it made specific claims about Earth's history that could be disproven - thoroughly, with no wiggle room, no maybes, just plain wrong.’
    • ‘My mind was swimming with what ifs, ands, buts and maybes.’
    • ‘It is not a case of maybes, ifs and buts, it is a case that someone has to come in in the next five weeks for us to continue.’
    • ‘In place of concrete evidence and facts, it substitutes possibilities, intentions and maybes.’
    • ‘He insists he hasn't focused on the what, ifs and maybes.’
    • ‘Whatever the case, such ifs and maybes are certainly in keeping with the very essence of salmon fishing.’
    • ‘Considering how few maybes there have been in his life, this concession is huge.’
    • ‘We want to leave their consulting room with a definitive answer, a solid diagnosis, not ifs and maybes.’
    • ‘Now, there's no ifs, buts and maybes about that.’
    • ‘Then there are the potential maybes, fraught with fewer hazards.’
    • ‘The Pacific has been a division full of maybes.’
    • ‘And we can all sit here and name another hundred maybes, any of which could change the dynamic of the election.’
    • ‘Those who have to take their big career decision this year can add this to their list of maybes - a chance to enter the exciting hi-tech world of computers.’
    • ‘Solid facts are few and far between; we're forced to make our way based on hypotheticals and maybes and historical analogies.’
    • ‘I expected him to come back with a handful of candidates and a few more maybes.’
    • ‘‘We've a confidential list of probables, possibles and maybes in terms of medals,’ she confides.’
    • ‘It is all ifs, buts and maybes but I have been pleased with him over the length of time that he has been here and this little spell that he's been having has been terrific.’
    • ‘It's all a bunch of maybes.’
    • ‘He'd spent too many years wondering about maybes.’
    • ‘I'm not talking about ifs, buts and maybes but times when there should have been dead-set tries.’


Late Middle English: from the phrase it may be (that).