Nearby words

  1. mailsack,
  2. mailshot,
  3. maim,
  4. maiman,
  5. maimonides,
  6. main body,
  7. main brace,
  8. main chance,
  9. main clause,
  10. main course

Idioms

    in the main, for the most part; chiefly: In the main, the novel was dull reading.

Origin of main

1
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

main

2
[meyn]

noun

a cockfighting match.

Origin of main

2
1560–70; perhaps special use of main1; compare main chance

Main

[meyn; German mahyn]

noun

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for main


British Dictionary definitions for main

main

1

adjective (prenominal)

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

noun

a principal pipe, conduit, duct, or line in a system used to distribute water, electricity, etc
(plural)
  1. the main distribution network for water, gas, or electricity
  2. (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

Word Origin for main

C13: from Old English mægen strength

noun

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

Main

noun

a river in central and W Germany, flowing west through Würzburg and Frankfurt to the Rhine. Length: about 515 km (320 miles)
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with main

main

In addition to the idioms beginning with main

  • main drag
  • main squeeze

also see:

  • 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.