maybe

maybe
an adverb meaning ‘perhaps’, is such a familiar part of current standard English that it comes as a surprise to know that it fell out of use in the 19c to an extent that caused the OED to label it ‘archaic and dialect’. It has a somewhat informal air about it, admittedly, but it is used in a wide range of contexts, written and spoken, especially in AmE, and shares all the grammatical flexibility of perhaps:

• Maybe a shotgun was all he had —A. Munro, 1987

• I think maybe that's what Setanta were trying to go for —Guardian, 2007.

Note that may be is spelt as two words when it is a combination of the modal verb may and the verb be: compare Maybe that's no bad thing and That may be no bad thing. Beware of mistakenly joining the words when they are used compositionally: ☒ That maybe all we can do.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Maybe — May be, adv. [For it may be.] Perhaps; possibly; peradventure. [1913 Webster] Maybe the amorous count solicits her. Shak. [1913 Webster] In a liberal and, maybe, somewhat reckless way. Tylor. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Maybe — May be, a. Possible; probable, but not sure. [R.] [1913 Webster] Then add those maybe years thou hast to live. Driden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Maybe — May be, n. Possibility; uncertainty. [R.] [1913 Webster] What they offer is mere maybe and shift. Creech. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • maybe — (adv.) early 15c., from (it) may be; see MAY (Cf. may) (v.1) + BE (Cf. be) (v.). Still sometimes written as two words early 19c …   Etymology dictionary

  • maybe — [adv] possibly as it may be, can be, conceivable, conceivably, could be, credible, feasible, imaginably, it could be, might be, obtainable, perchance, perhaps, weather permitting; concept 552 Ant. certainly, definitely, surely …   New thesaurus

  • maybe — ► ADVERB ▪ perhaps; possibly …   English terms dictionary

  • maybe — [mā′bē] adv. [ME (for it may be)] perhaps …   English World dictionary

  • Maybe — Perchance redirects here. For the phrase with the word, see To be, or not to be. Maybe may refer to: Music Maybe, a song written in 1926 by George and Ira Gershwin, from the musical Oh, Kay! Maybe (1935 song), a 1935 song by Allan Flynn and Frank …   Wikipedia

  • Maybe.ru — Стиль этой статьи неэнциклопедичен или нарушает нормы русского языка. Статью следует исправить согласно стилистическим правилам Википедии …   Википедия

  • maybe — [[t]me͟ɪbi[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADV: ADV with cl/group (vagueness) You use maybe to express uncertainty, for example when you do not know that something is definitely true, or when you are mentioning something that may possibly happen in the future in the… …   English dictionary

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