Main definitions of might in English

: might1might2



  • 1

    past of may, used especially
    1. 1.1 In reported speech, expressing 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 a condition not fulfilled.
      ‘we might have won if we'd played better’
      • ‘Had Italy turned pressure into tries they might well have won the match.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was a faint possibility she might have died from the resultant fumes.’
      • ‘They had no choice but to turn around and go back to conditions that might have ended their lives.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, she does not, despite the fact his manoeuvre denied her the chance to stand as deputy, a post she might have won.’
      • ‘Overall it was a fair performance from the local side who might well have won but for a few crucial errors.’
      • ‘We are left to wonder what more it might achieve if conditions were better.’
      • ‘I still remember the time my parents steered me clear of any stall where I might have won a goldfish.’
      • ‘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.’
    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 in questions and requests.

    1. 2.1 Tentatively asking permission.
      ‘might I ask one question?’
  • 3Expressing a polite request.

    ‘you might just call me Jane, if you don't mind’
    1. 3.1 Asking for information, especially condescendingly.
      ‘and who might you be?’
  • 4Used to express possibility or make a suggestion.

    ‘this might be true’
    ‘you might try nonprescription pain relievers’
    • ‘There are also three reasons to kill off news reports because they might impact stability.’
    • ‘There was also deep anger at reports that colleges might be privatised.’
    • ‘It might endanger other reporters to have it publicly known that this deception is practised.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But when a friend suggested the story might not be true she contacted the Advertiser for help.’
    • ‘My suggestions for what might be happening were treated with, I felt, derision.’
    • ‘Identical reports might elicit different responses from different committees.’
    • ‘They might be basing their charges on some kind of analogy to the cost of the hotel room.’
    • ‘He then asked doctors to phone in with suggestions of what might be wrong with him.’
    • ‘I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to what might be best for me considering his size.’
    • ‘Do you have any suggestions as to what might be causing it and what I can do to remedy the problem?’
    • ‘On the issue of what these common values might be, the report provides no answers.’
    • ‘Reports that the guns might be destined for sale to the drugs underworld were dismissed as pure speculation.’
    • ‘That's important, but I have to remain open to the possibility that now might be the time to cut my losses and flee.’
    • ‘We have a few suggestions that might work and they can be summed up in one word: layering.’
    • ‘Suggestions for reforms that might limit house price inflation are plentiful enough.’
    • ‘There is no suggestion that any schools might close or face restructuring.’
    • ‘I've made a few suggestions for things she might add to her site and she's always extremely grateful.’
    • ‘Some might say his report has extended a similar protection to those who govern us.’


On the difference in use between might and may, see may


  • might as well

    • 1Used to make an unenthusiastic suggestion.

      ‘I might as well begin’
      • ‘He's never going to go away, you know, so we might as well get used to it.’
      • ‘We might as well begin our quest to improve Anglo-German relations at the very top.’
      • ‘So I might as well stop trying to write novels in which real people move.’
      • ‘And if we're going to disrespect the place, we might as well have the decency to spell it right.’
      • ‘I suggest to her that they might as well stop giving out tickets for now.’
      • ‘Someone has to be the focus of the party and it might as well be you.’
    • 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’
      • ‘Well, if we're going to put up with water-cured bacon, we might as well pay as little as possible for it.’
      • ‘If they're going to make you fight, you might as well do the job properly.’
      • ‘Okay, that's not quite true, but it might as well be, because bubbly is everywhere in Reims.’
      • ‘When that hate finds its way into the mainstream consciousness, it might as well be true.’
      • ‘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.’
  • might have known (or guessed)

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

      ‘I might have known it was you’
      • ‘You might have known, in general, that the market was in a bubble.’
      • ‘If our president had traveled more, he might have known that.’
      • ‘As you might have guessed, it's no ordinary film.’
      • ‘There is, as you might have guessed, a crisis situation.’
      • ‘This day, as you might have guessed, is called a ‘B’ day.’
      • ‘As you might have guessed, there's definitely more to this story.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His more established blog, Law, Science and Technology, focuses on - as you might have guessed - the intersection of law, science, and technology.’
      • ‘So we didn't stay there too long, as you might have guessed.’
      • ‘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.’




Main definitions of might in English

: might1might2



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

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


  • might is right

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

      • ‘Bullying is the classic statement that violence is right, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Are we adopting a system that declares might is right?’
      • ‘He explained that, in the invisible world of FM radio waves, might is right.’
      • ‘These are the days of might is right and revenge is my right.’
      • ‘Children need discipline and clear boundaries but when parents resort to physical punishment they give out the wrong message that might is right.’
      • ‘This is an onerous responsibility, a responsibility which cannot be achieved by the notion that 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?’
      • ‘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.’
  • with all one's might

    • Using all one's power or strength.

      • ‘We have fought with all our might to find an alternative option, which is why today's announcement is so disappointing now.’
      • ‘I ripped with all my might, but after a moment, all my strength was gone and I blacked out again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eventually a wave washed up the beach, and as it rolled over her she gathered her strength and wriggled with all her might.’
      • ‘With her last ounce of strength, she pushed at her assassin 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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


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