Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[meyn-lee] /ˈmeɪn li/
chiefly; principally; for the most part; in the main; to the greatest extent:
Our success was due mainly to your efforts. The audience consisted mainly of students.
Obsolete. greatly; mightily; abundantly.
Origin of mainly
First recorded in 1225-75, mainly is from the Middle English word maynliche, maynly. See main1, -ly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for mainly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Opera at both houses had been killed, mainly by the folly of party strife.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • mainly we laid on our backs and talked; we didn't want to go to sleep.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • If it was mainly invented by Wheatstone, it was chiefly introduced by Cooke.

  • That is mainly why I wished to see you—to say good-by, for the time.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The New Englanders were mainly farmers, hunters, and fishermen.

    The Nation in a Nutshell George Makepeace Towle
British Dictionary definitions for mainly


for the most part; to the greatest extent; principally
(obsolete) strongly; very much
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mainly

late 13c., "vigorously," from main (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "especially" is from c.1400; that of "for the most part" is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for mainly

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mainly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for mainly