May, * To be permited; to be at liberty; to have the power.

2. Whenever a statute directs the doing of a thing for the sake of justice or the public good, the word may is the same as shall. For example, the 23 H. Vi. says, the sheriff may take bail, that is construed he shall, for he is compellable to do so. Carth. 293 Salk. 609; Skin. 370.

3. The words shall and may in general acts of the legislature or in private constitutions, are to be construed imperatively; 3. Atk. 166; but the construction of those words in a deed depends on circumstances. 3 Atk. 282. See 1 Vern. 152, case. 142 9 Porter, R. 390.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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