Definition of Mayday in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmādā/
(also mayday)


An international radio distress signal used by ships and aircraft.
Example sentences
  • The ship sent out the Mayday signal early yesterday morning when it was about 33 nautical miles away.
  • The radio operator sent a Mayday distress call, which was logged by the local Coastguard station at 12.06 am.
  • To send armed forces onboard a civil ship sending out Mayday signals is piracy.


A distress signal using the word “Mayday”: we sent out a Mayday [as modifier]: a Mayday call


1920s: representing a pronunciation of French m'aider, from venez m'aider 'come and help me'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: May·day

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