Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Main

Main

,
Noun.
[AS.
mægen
strength, power, force; akin to OHG.
magan
, Icel.
megin
, and to E.
may
, v. √103. See
May
,
Verb.
]
1.
Strength; force; might; violent effort.
[Obs., except in certain phrases.]
There were in this battle of most might and
main
.
R. of Gl.
He ’gan advance,
With huge force, and with importable
main
.
Spenser.
2.
The chief or principal part; the main or most important thing.
[Obs., except in special uses.]
Resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the
main
, and to use the other two . . . but as supporters.
Bacon.
3.
Specifically:
(a)
The great sea, as distinguished from an arm, bay, etc. ; the high sea; the ocean.
“Struggling in the main.”
Dryden.
(b)
The continent, as distinguished from an island; the mainland.
“Invaded the main of Spain.”
Bacon.
(c)
principal duct or pipe, as distinguished from lesser ones; esp.
(Engin.)
, a principal pipe leading to or from a reservoir;
as, a fire
main
.
Forcing main
,
the delivery pipe of a pump.
For the main
, or
In the main
,
for the most part; in the greatest part.
With might and main
, or
With all one's might and main
,
with all one's strength; with violent effort.
With might and main
they chased the murderous fox.
Dryden.

Main

(mān)
,
Adj.
[From
Main
strength, possibly influenced by OF.
maine
,
magne
, great, L.
magnus
. Cf.
Magnate
.]
1.
Very or extremely strong.
[Obs.]
That current with
main
fury ran.
Daniel.
2.
Vast; huge.
[Obs.]
“The main abyss.”
Milton.
3.
Unqualified; absolute; entire; sheer.
[Obs.]
“It's a man untruth.”
Sir W. Scott.
Our
main
interest is to be happy as we can.
Tillotson.
5.
Important; necessary.
[Obs.]
That which thou aright
Believest so
main
to our success, I bring.
Milton.
By main force
,
by mere force or sheer force; by violent effort;
as, to subdue insurrection
by main force
.

That Maine which
by main force
Warwick did win.
Shakespeare
By main strength
,
by sheer strength;
as, to lift a heavy weight
by main strength
.
Main beam
(Steam Engine)
,
working beam.
Main boom
(Naut.)
,
the boom which extends the foot of the mainsail in a fore and aft vessel.
Main brace
.
(a)
(Mech.)
The brace which resists the chief strain. Cf.
Counter brace
.
(b)
(Naut.)
The brace attached to the main yard.
Main center
(Steam Engine)
,
a shaft upon which a working beam or side lever swings.
Main chance
.
See under
Chance
.
Main couple
(Arch.)
,
the principal truss in a roof.
Main deck
(Naut.)
,
the deck next below the spar deck; the principal deck.
Main keel
(Naut.)
,
the principal or true keel of a vessel, as distinguished from the false keel.
Syn. – Principal; chief; leading; cardinal; capital.

Main

,
adv.
[See
Main
,
Adj.
]
Very; extremely;
as,
main
heavy
.
“I'm main dry.”
Foote.
[Obs. or Low]

Webster 1828 Edition


Main

MAIN

,
Adj.
[L. magnus.]
1.
Principal; chief; that which has most power in producing an effect, or which is mostly regarded in prospect; as the main branch or tributary stream of a river; the main timbers of an edifice; a main design; a main object.
Our main interest is to be as happy as we can, and as long as possible.
2.
Mighty; vast; as the main abyss.
3.
Important; powerful.
This young prince, with a train of young noblemen and gentlemen, not with any main army, came over to take possession of his patrimony.

MAIN

,
Noun.
Strength; force; violent effort; as in the phrase, 'with might and main.'
1.
The gross; the bulk; the greater part.
The main of them may be reduced to language and an improvement in wisdom--
2.
The ocean; the great sea, as distinguished from rivers, bays, sounds and the like.
He fell, and struggling in the main--
3.
The continent, as distinguished from an isle. We arrived at Nantucket on Saturday, but did not reach the main till Monday. In this use of the word, land is omitted; main for main land.
4.
A hamper.
5.
A course; a duct.
For the main, in the main, for the most part; in the greatest part.

MAIN

,
Noun.
[L. manus, hand.] A hand at dice. We throw a merry main.
And lucky mains make people wise. [Not used.]
1.
A match at cock fighting.

Definition 2022


Main

Main

See also: main, mäin, and -main

English

Proper noun

Main

  1. A river in southern Germany, flowing from Bavaria to the Rhine.
  2. A river in Northern Ireland, flowing into Lough Neagh.

Translations

See also

Anagrams


Portuguese

Proper noun

Main m

  1. Main (a river in southern Germany)

Synonyms

main

main

See also: Main, mäin, and -main

English

Adjective

main (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Great in size or degree; vast; strong; powerful; important.
  2. Principal; prime; chief; leading; of chief or principal importance. [from 15th c.]
    • John Tillotson (1630-1694)
      Our main interest is to be happy as we can.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      With some of it on the south and more of it on the north of the great main thoroughfare that connects Aldgate and the East India Docks, St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London.
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 5, in Death on the Centre Court:
      By one o'clock the place was choc-a-bloc. […] The restaurant was packed, and the promenade between the two main courts and the subsidiary courts was thronged with healthy-looking youngish people, drawn to the Mecca of tennis from all parts of the country.
  3. Principal or chief in size or extent; largest; consisting of the largest part; most important by reason or size or strength.
    main timbers; main branch of a river; main body of an army
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      That which thou aright / Believest so main to our success, I bring.
    • 2013 August 3, Yesterday’s fuel”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. [] It was used to make kerosene, the main fuel for artificial lighting after overfishing led to a shortage of whale blubber. Other liquids produced in the refining process, too unstable or smoky for lamplight, were burned or dumped.
  4. Full; undivided; sheer (of strength, force etc.). [from 16th c.]
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, XII:
      I was forced from the apartment by the main strength of two of these youthful Titans.
  5. (nautical) Belonging to or connected with the principal mast in a vessel.
  6. (dialectal) Big; angry.
Derived terms
Translations

Adverb

main (comparative more main, superlative most main)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) Very; very much; greatly; mightily; extremely; exceedingly.
    • 1799, Samuel Foote, The works of Samuel Foote:
      A draught of ale, friend, for I'm main dry.
    • 1840, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Leigh Hunt, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The dramatic works of Richard Brinsley Sheridan:
      Why, it's main jolly to be sure, and all that so fair.

Etymology 2

From Old English mægen (strength), later also taking senses from the adjective.

Noun

main (plural mains)

  1. (obsolete, except in might and main) Strength; power; force; violent effort. [from 9th c.]
    • Spenser
      He 'gan advance, / With huge force, and with importable main.
  2. That which is chief or principal; the chief or main portion; the gross; the bulk; the greater part.
    • Francis Bacon
      Resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the main, and to use the other two [] but as supporters.
    • 1858, Humphrey Prideaux, James Talboys Wheeler, An historical connection of the Old and New Testaments:
      [] Alexander and Molon in the East; and therefore advised him to march immediately in person with the main of his army for the subduing of those rebels, before they should gather greater strength in the revolted provinces against him.
  3. (informal) The main course, or principal dish of a meal.
    I had scampi and chips for my main and a slice of cheesecake for dessert.
  4. (now archaic, US dialectal) The mainland. [from 16th c.]
    • Francis Bacon
      Invaded the main of Spain.
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, page 90:
      The highest land on the mayne, yet it was but low, we called Keales hill, and these uninhabited Isles, Russels Isles.
    • 1624, John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and severall steps in my Sicknes (Meditation XVII):
      No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      Tashtego's long, lean, sable hair, his high cheek bones, and black rounding eyes [] all this sufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated blood of those proud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great New England moose, had scoured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main.
  5. (now poetic) The high seas. [from 16th c.]
    • Dryden
      struggling in the main
  6. A large pipe or cable providing utility service to a building or area, such as water main or electric main. [from 17th c.]
  7. (nautical) The mainsail. [from 17th c.]
Quotations
  • For usage examples of this term, see Citations:main.
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 3

Borrowing from French main (hand); compare manual.

Noun

main (plural mains)

  1. A hand or match in a game of dice.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Prior to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thackeray to this entry?)
  2. A stake played for at dice.
    • Shakespeare, The First Park of King Henry IV
      Were it good . . . to set so rich a main on the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
  3. The largest throw in a match at dice; a throw at dice within given limits, as in the game of hazard.
  4. A match at cockfighting.
    • Thackeray
      My lord would ride twenty miles [] to see a main fought.
  5. A main-hamper, or fruit basket.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ainsworth to this entry?)

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: associated · worse · safe · #978: main · q · greatly · floor

Anagrams


Dalmatian

Etymology

From Latin mēne, from . Compare Romanian mine.

Pronoun

main

  1. (first-person singular pronoun, oblique case) me

Related terms


Finnish

Noun

main

  1. Instructive plural form of maa.

Anagrams


French

Etymology

From Middle French main, Old French main, mein, man, from Latin manus (hand), from Proto-Italic *manus, from Proto-Indo-European *man- (hand).

Pronunciation

Noun

main f (plural mains)

  1. hand
  2. (soccer) handball
  3. (poker) hand

Synonyms

Holonyms

Meronyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Anagrams


Indonesian

Verb

main (bermain)

  1. to play

Kaiep

Noun

main

  1. woman

References

  • Stephen Adolphe Wurm, New Guinea Area Languages and Language Study (1976)
  • Malcolm Ross, Proto Oceanic and the Austronesian Languages of Western Melanesia (1988)

Middle French

Etymology

From Old French main, mein, man, from Latin manus.

Noun

main f (plural mains)

  1. (anatomy) hand

Descendants


Norman

Alternative forms

  • man (continental Normandy)
  • môin (Guernsey)

Etymology

From Old French main, mein, man, from Latin manus (hand), from Proto-Indo-European *man-.

Pronunciation

Noun

main f (plural mains)

  1. (Jersey, anatomy) hand

Derived terms

Related terms

  • (finger)

Old French

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Latin manus.

Noun

main f (oblique plural mainz, nominative singular main, nominative plural mainz)

  1. (anatomy) hand

Descendants


Welsh

Etymology

Cognate with Breton moan, Cornish moon.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /mai̯n/

Adjective

main (feminine singular main, plural meinion, equative mained, comparative mainach, superlative mainaf)

  1. slender, fine, thin

Mutation

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
main fain unchanged unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.