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[uh-meyn] /əˈmeɪn/
adverb, Archaic.
with full force.
at full speed.
suddenly; hastily.
exceedingly; greatly.
Origin of amain
First recorded in 1530-40; a-1 + main1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for amain
Historical Examples
  • amain I did for the horse what I would neither do for earl or baron, doffed my hat; yes!

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • amain I did for the horse what I would neither do for earl nor baron, doffed my hat; yes!

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • To recover they were fain, But now did Alvar Fañez on their rearward fall amain.

    The Lay of the Cid R. Selden Rose
  • On Astur's throat Horatius right firmly press'd his heel, And thrice and four times tugg'd amain, ere he wrench'd outthe steel.

  • Accordingly, just before the others came back, I felt a strong pull on my line and hauled in amain.

    Hawthorne and His Circle Julian Hawthorne
  • Then would he rush upon him / but that him did restrain Hildebrand his uncle / who seizéd him amain.

  • The Engagement then grew desperate, for they on either Side fired in amain, whilst we withstood their Force.

    The City Bride (1696) Joseph Harris
  • Then a work goes on amain, when the undertakers, whether they be few or many, all speak and think the same thing.

  • The stormy blast of hell With restless fury drives the spirits on Whirl'd round and dash'd amain with sore annoy.

    The Vision of Hell, Part 3 Dante Alighieri
  • Amid these we cautiously pick our way, winding round the towers or scaling them amain.

British Dictionary definitions for amain


(archaic or poetic) with great strength, speed, or haste
Word Origin
C16: from a-² + main1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amain

1530s, from main (adj.) by analogy with other words in a- (e.g. afoot).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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