- the principal thoroughfare, especially through the business district, in a small town.
- (initial capital letters) the outlook, environment, or life of a small town.
Origin of main street
First recorded in 1735–45
- a novel (1920) by Sinclair Lewis.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for main street
Main-street commands a fine view from the ascent, and is lined with Pride-of-India trees.Retrospect of Western Travel, Volume II (of 2)
But one day, while sauntering down the main-street, and wondering at all I saw, I suddenly encountered a strange sight.
When this matter had been disposed of, they wandered slowly down Main-street again, and got entrance tickets for the Museum.The wanderings and fortunes of some German emigrants
- the most prominent street of a town, usually where the principal shops and businesses are situated
- ordinary people in general
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
Word Origin and History for main street
"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., especially since publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper