- chief in size, extent, or importance; principal; leading: the company's main office; the main features of a plan.
- sheer; utmost, as strength or force: to lift a stone by main force.
- of or relating to a broad expanse: main sea.
- Grammar. syntactically independent; capable of use in isolation.Compare dependent(def 4), independent(def 14), main clause.
- having or exerting great strength or force; mighty.
- having momentous or important results; significant.
- a principal pipe or duct in a system used to distribute water, gas, etc.
- physical strength, power, or force: to struggle with might and main.
- the chief or principal part or point: The main of their investments was lost during the war.
- Literary. the open ocean; high sea: the bounding main.
- the mainland.
- Usually mains. a main course in a meal: The restaurant offers four mains: one chicken, two beef, and one fish.
- South Midland U.S. (chiefly Appalachian ). very; exceedingly: The dogs treed a main big coon.
- Slang. mainline.
- in the main, for the most part; chiefly: In the main, the novel was dull reading.
Origin of main1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a cockfighting match.
Origin of main2
- a river in central and W Germany, flowing W from the Bohemian Forest in N Bavaria into the Rhine at Mainz. 305 miles (490 km) long.
Examples from the Web for main
Flesh encircled him at the main pool of the Paradise Hotel and Residences at Boca.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’
January 7, 2015
They even switched off their location service—one of the main perks of the program.Sisi Is Persecuting, Prosecuting, and Publicly Shaming Egypt’s Gays
December 30, 2014
At the same time, the heaviest parts—the main fuselage, the engines and wings—sink to the bottom.Did Bad Weather Bring Down AirAsia 8501?
December 29, 2014
In his statement, Rigi named Naser Boledi as a main mediator between him and representatives of NATO.The Dangerous Drug-Funded Secret War Between Iran and Pakistan
December 29, 2014
Sometimes, they had a backup aim if their main goal fell through as the night dragged on.The Craziest Date Night for Single Jews, Where Mistletoe Is Ditched for Shots
December 26, 2014
Then let the main pressure be felt by its inventors and publishers.
That they would use the drug to excess there can be no doubt, and that is the main point.
Kennedy and I pushed along slowly with the main lot of horses.Explorations in Australia
"You are evading the main point, Rushton," said the superintendent.Brave and Bold
"Up the Main Street, and across the drawbridge," said the soldier, goodnaturedly.
- chief or principal in rank, importance, size, etc
- sheer or utmost (esp in the phrase by main force)
- nautical of, relating to, or denoting any gear, such as a stay or sail, belonging to the mainmast
- obsolete significant or important
- a principal pipe, conduit, duct, or line in a system used to distribute water, electricity, etc
- the main distribution network for water, gas, or electricity
- (as modifier)mains voltage
- the chief or most important part or consideration
- great strength or force (now chiefly in the phrase (with) might and main)
- literary the open ocean
- archaic short for Spanish Main
- archaic short for mainland
- in the main or for the main on the whole; for the most part
- a throw of the dice in dice games
- a cockfighting contest
- a match in archery, boxing, etc
- a river in central and W Germany, flowing west through Würzburg and Frankfurt to the Rhine. Length: about 515 km (320 miles)
Word Origin and History for main
Old English mægen (n.) "power, bodily strength, force, efficacy," from Proto-Germanic *maginam "power," suffixed form of PIE root *magh- (1) "be able, have power" (see may (v.)). Original sense preserved in phrase with might and main. Meaning "principal channel in a utility system" is first recorded 1727 in main drain; Used since 1540s for "continuous stretch of land or water." In Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast between Panama and Orinoco.
early 13c., "large, bulky, strong," from Old English mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (e.g. mægensibb "great love," mægenbyrðen "heavy burden;" see main (n.)), probably also from or influenced by Old Norse megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400. Main course in the meal sense attested from 1829. Main man "favorite male friend; hero" is from 1967, U.S. black slang.