[ meyn ]
/ meɪn /
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.
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.
verb (used with or without object)
The Saddest Phrases In The English LanguageRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
in the main, for the most part; chiefly: In the main, the novel was dull reading.
Origin of main1
before 900; (noun) Middle English meyn, mayn strength, power, Old English mægen, cognate with Old Norse megin(n), megn strength; (adj.) Middle English mayn, partly < Old Norse megenn, megn strong, partly independent use of Old English mægen (noun) taken as an adj. in compounds, as in mægen-weorc, literally, work of might
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for in the main (1 of 3)
/ (meɪn, German main) /
a river in central and W Germany, flowing west through Würzburg and Frankfurt to the Rhine. Length: about 515 km (320 miles)
British Dictionary definitions for in the main (2 of 3)
/ (meɪn) /
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)
Word Origin for main
C13: from Old English mægen strength
British Dictionary definitions for in the main (3 of 3)
/ (meɪn) /
a throw of the dice in dice games
a cockfighting contest
a match in archery, boxing, etc
Word Origin for main
C16: of unknown origin
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
Idioms and Phrases with in the main (1 of 2)
in the main
For the most part, chiefly, as in It was an excellent conference in the main. [First half of 1600s]
Idioms and Phrases with in the main (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with main
- main drag
- main squeeze
- eye to the main chance
- in the main
- might and main
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.