main river


[meyn; German mahyn]
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
main1 (meɪn)
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
5.  a principal pipe, conduit, duct, or line in a system used to distribute water, electricity, etc
6.  (plural)
 a.  the main distribution network for water, gas, or electricity
 b.  (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
[C13: from Old English mægen strength]

main2 (meɪn)
1.  a throw of the dice in dice games
2.  a cockfighting contest
3.  a match in archery, boxing, etc
[C16: of unknown origin]

Main (meɪn, German main)
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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. mægen (n.) "power, strength, force," from P.Gmc. *maginam- "power," from *mag- "be able, have power" (see may). 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
1548 for "continuous stretch of land or water."

early 13c., "large, bulky, strong," from O.E. mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (see main (n.)), probably infl. by O.N. megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400. In Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast
between Panama and Orinoco. Main man "favorite male friend, hero" is from 1967, U.S. black slang.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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