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main1

[meyn] /meɪn/
adjective
1.
chief in size, extent, or importance; principal; leading:
the company's main office; the main features of a plan.
2.
sheer; utmost, as strength or force:
to lift a stone by main force.
3.
of or pertaining to a broad expanse:
main sea.
4.
Grammar. syntactically independent; capable of use in isolation.
Compare dependent (def 4), independent (def 14), main clause.
5.
Nautical.
  1. of or pertaining to a mainmast.
  2. noting or pertaining to a sail, yard, boom, etc., or to any rigging belonging to a mainmast.
  3. noting any stay running aft and upward to the head of a mainmast:
    main topmast stay.
6.
Obsolete.
  1. having or exerting great strength or force; mighty.
  2. having momentous or important results; significant.
noun
7.
a principal pipe or duct in a system used to distribute water, gas, etc.
8.
physical strength, power, or force:
to struggle with might and main.
9.
the chief or principal part or point:
The main of their investments was lost during the war.
10.
Literary. the open ocean; high sea:
the bounding main.
11.
the mainland.
adverb
12.
South Midland U.S. (chiefly Appalachian) . very; exceedingly:
The dogs treed a main big coon.
verb (used without object), verb (used with object)
13.
Slang. mainline.
Idioms
14.
in the main, for the most part; chiefly:
In the main, the novel was dull reading.
Origin
900
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
Synonyms
1. cardinal, prime, paramount, primary, capital. 2. pure, direct. 7. conduit. 8. might.
Antonyms
1. secondary, least. 8. weakness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for in main

main1

/meɪn/
adjective (prenominal)
1.
chief or principal in rank, importance, size, etc
2.
sheer or utmost (esp in the phrase by main force)
3.
(nautical) of, relating to, or denoting any gear, such as a stay or sail, belonging to the mainmast
4.
(obsolete) significant or important
noun
5.
a principal pipe, conduit, duct, or line in a system used to distribute water, electricity, etc
6.
(pl)
  1. the main distribution network for water, gas, or electricity
  2. (as modifier): mains voltage
7.
the chief or most important part or consideration
8.
great strength or force (now chiefly in the phrase (with) might and main)
9.
(literary) the open ocean
10.
(archaic) short for Spanish Main
11.
(archaic) short for mainland
12.
in the main, for the main, on the whole; for the most part
Word Origin
C13: from Old English mægen strength

main2

/meɪn/
noun
1.
a throw of the dice in dice games
2.
a cockfighting contest
3.
a match in archery, boxing, etc
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin

Main

/meɪn; German main/
noun
1.
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
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Word Origin and History for in main

main

n.

Old English mægen (n.) "power, bodily strength, force, efficacy," from Proto-Germanic *maginam "power," suffixed form of PIE root *magh- (1) "be able, have power" (see may (v.)). Original sense preserved in phrase with might and main. Meaning "principal channel in a utility system" is first recorded 1727 in main drain; Used since 1540s for "continuous stretch of land or water." In Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast between Panama and Orinoco.

adj.

early 13c., "large, bulky, strong," from Old English mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (e.g. mægensibb "great love," mægenbyrðen "heavy burden;" see main (n.)), probably also from or influenced by Old Norse megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400. Main course in the meal sense attested from 1829. Main man "favorite male friend; hero" is from 1967, U.S. black slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for in main

main

adjective

Favorite; most admired; beloved: This is my main nigger, my number one nigger (1960s+ Black)

Related Terms

mainline


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with in main
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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