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Some people may be wondering why anybody would yell "May Day" when they are in trouble. Here is why:

It derives from the French "m'aidez", pronounced "mayDAY," and means literally "help me."
If you are in distress while flying an airplane, calling "Mayday mayday mayday" over the radio will give you top priority and any help people on the ground or in the air can offer.
by Athene Airheart May 02, 2004
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international distress radio code word, when using voice transmission

SOS is the morse code version

MAYDAY is reconized internationally as an emergency code on any type of radio system, and should be taken seriously.
"Coast Guard, this is the Andrea Gail, MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY"
by IrishRepublicanArmy October 28, 2003
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It is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me".

It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by mariners and aviators but in some countries local organisations such as police forces, firefighters, and transportation organizations may also use the term. The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual Mayday call from a message about a Mayday call.

A mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. Examples of "grave and imminent danger" in which a mayday call would be appropriate include fire, explosion or sinking.

Civilian aircraft in the UK and Europe are encouraged to use the following format:

MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY; Name of station addressed; Aircraft callsign; Nature of emergency; Intentions of the pilot; Present position (including Altitude or Flight level); Pilot's qualifications; Any other useful information (number of souls on board.)
MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, this is NONSUCH, NONSUCH, NONSUCH. MAYDAY, NONSUCH. Position 54 25 North 016 33 West. My boat is on fire and sinking. I require immediate assistance. Four people on board, are taking a lifeboat. MAYDAY NONSUCH, OVER."
by ralook_blondy November 29, 2011
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A longstanding and historical tradition at Washington College, in which students get naked and run around on the green while hammered. It occurs every year on a weekend near the 1st of May.

Legend goes that the first May Day was held by a professor in the 60's, along with several of his students.
"I barely remember May Day. All I know is that I woke up the next day in someone else's room with a bite mark on my arm and a gash on my butt. I'm still not sure who bit me."
by MsPrudence September 28, 2011
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The first definition is all wrong. May Day (or Mayday) is actually an anarchist and labor holiday, the true labor day, and has nothing to do with state communism.

The story of May Day:

In early May of 1886, anarchist and labor activists rioted in Haymarket Square in Chicago in the name of winning an eight-hour workday. During that time, most capitalist bosses required their workers to work for 14 hours a day with little breaks or days off. During the riot, someone threw a bomb. Five anarchists were accused of bomb-throwing or a conspiracy to do such and were tried, later convicted, and hanged. May Day became a day to remember their sacrifice as well as the sacrifices of all laborers who must work under the conditions of wage slavery.
During May Day, the anarchists, labor unionists, and immigrant groups held a large rally in the middle of the city to show solidarity.
by ConservatismSucks May 05, 2010
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Mayday (Wu Yue Tian) is one of the most popular rock bands of Taiwan. Its members are Ashin (lead vocalist), Masa (bass), Ming (drummer), Monster (guitar), and Stone (guitar).
A favorite of Taiwan's nascent rock scene in the mid to late-1990s, Mayday catapulted to fame following their Golden Melody nomination for Best Band in 2000. Though they lost the award that year, a contract they inked with Rock Records, the nation's largest label for rock music, gave them the marketing muscle they needed to start selling records on the same scale as perennially favorite pop stars like Lee Hom Wong, Eason Chan and David Tao. They've since become one of Taiwan's only million-selling rock bands, behind Wu Bai and China Blue, and they've taken home their own Golden Melody awards for Best Band and Best Video and even had a Taipei City Honor award bestowed on them by Mayor Ma Ying-jeou.

("Who said Mayday was a sellout?" by David Momphard, Taipei Times, Friday, Jan 07, 2005)
by Jadespacy February 06, 2005
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