may, vb.

1. To be permitted to (the plaintiff may close). [Cases: Statutes 227. C.J.S. Statutes §§ 362–369.]

2. To be a possibility (we may win on appeal). Cf. CAN.

3. Loosely, is required to; shall; must (if two or more defendants are jointly indicted, any defendant who so requests may be tried separately). • In dozens of cases, courts have held may to be synonymous with shall or must, usu. in an effort to effectuate legislative intent.