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.