- Main is described as the most important or primary person or thing.
An example of main is a main character, such as Tom Sawyer being the primary character in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
- The definition of a main is a primary line used for distributing water, gas and electricity.
An example of a main is an underground pipe that brings water to a building.
- physical strength; force; power: now only in , with all one's strength
Origin of main< mainthe the principal or most important part or point: usually in the phrase , mostly, chiefly
- a principal pipe, conduit, or line in a distribution system for water, gas, electricity, etc.
- Old Poet. the high, or open, sea; ocean
- Archaic the mainland
- Obsolete any broad expanse
Origin of mainMiddle English ; from Old English mægen, akin to Old Norse magn: see might
- Obsolete strong; powerful
- chief in size, extent, importance, etc.; principal; leading; specif., designating a large central unit on which subsidiaries or branches depend: the main post office
- of, near, or connected with the mainmast or mainsail
- Brit., Dialectal remarkable; considerable
- Obsolete designating a broad expanse of land, sea, or space
Origin of mainME mayn < OE mægen- (in comp.) & ON meginn, strong
by main force (or strength)
Origin of MainG ; from Gaulish Moenus ; from Indo-European an unverified form moin-, river name ; from base an unverified form mei-, to go, wander from source Classical Latin meare, to go
- Most important; principal. See Synonyms at chief.
- Exerted to the utmost; sheer: “They took her off the sled by main strength” (Jack London).
- Nautical Connected to or located near the mainmast: a main skysail.
- Obsolete Of or relating to a continuous area or stretch, as of land or water.
- The chief or largest part: His ideas are, in the main, impractical.
- The principal pipe or conduit in a system for conveying water, gas, oil, or other utility.
- Physical strength: fought with might and main.
- A mainland.
- The open ocean.
- Nautical a. A mainsail.b. A mainmast.
Origin of mainMiddle English, from Old English mægen, strength; see magh- in Indo-European roots.
- Principal; prime; chief; leading; of chief or principal importance. [from 15th c.]
- 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
- Full; undivided; sheer (of strength, force etc.). [from 16th c.]
- (nautical) Belonging to or connected with the principal mast in a vessel.
- (dialectal) Big; angry.
(comparative more main, superlative most main)
From Middle English main, mayn, meyn, partly from Old English mægen- ("strong, principal, main"; used in combination), from Old English mæġen (“strength”), and partly from Old Norse megn, megenn (“strong, main”); both from Proto-Germanic *maginą (“strength, power, might”), *maginaz (“strong”), from Proto-Indo-European *mogh-, *megh- (“power”). Cognate with Old High German megīn (“strong, mighty”), German Möge, Vermögen (“power, wealth”). Akin also to Old English magan (“to be able to”). More at may.
- That which is chief or principal; the chief or main portion; the gross; the bulk; the greater part.
- (now archaic, US dialectal) The mainland. [from 16th c.]
- (now poetic) The high seas. [from 16th c.]
- A large pipe or cable providing utility service to a building or area, such as water main or electric main. [from 17th c.]
- (nautical) The mainsail. [from 17th c.]
From Old English mægen (“strength”), later also taking senses from the adjective.