main

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See also: Main, mäin, and -main

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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.

Adjective[edit]

main (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Great in size or degree; vast; strong; powerful; important.
    • Daniel
      That current with main fury ran.
  2. Principal; prime; chief; leading; of chief or principal importance. [from 15th c.]
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, 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.
    • Tillotson
      Our main interest is to be happy as we can.
  3. Principal or chief in size or extent; largest; consisting of the largest part; most important by reason or size or strength.
    • John Milton
      That which thou aright / Believest so main to our success, I bring.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, 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.
    main timbers;  main branch of a river;  main body of an army
  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[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

main (comparative more main, superlative most main)

  1. (UK, 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[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

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. (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.
    • 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.
  4. (now poetic) The high seas. [from 16th c.]
    • Dryden
      struggling in the main
  5. A large pipe or cable providing utility service to a building or area, such as water main or electric main. [from 17th c.]
  6. (nautical) The mainsail. [from 17th c.]
Quotations[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 3[edit]

French main (hand); compare manual.

Noun[edit]

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[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

External links[edit]


Dalmatian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From a Latin mēne, from . Compare Romanian mine.

Pronoun[edit]

main

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

Related terms[edit]


Finnish[edit]

Noun[edit]

main

  1. Instructive plural form of maa.

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

main f (plural mains)

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

Synonyms[edit]

Holonyms[edit]

Meronyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Indonesian[edit]

Verb[edit]

main (bermain)

  1. to play

Jèrriais[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

main f (plural mains)

  1. (anatomy) hand

Middle French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Latin manus.

Noun[edit]

main f (plural mains)

  1. hand (anatomy)

Descendants[edit]


Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Latin manus.

Noun[edit]

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

  1. hand (anatomy)

Descendants[edit]