follow Dictionary.com

What is the X in X-mas?

mains

[meynz] /meɪnz/
noun, (used with a singular verb) British Dialect
1.
the main or home farm of a manor, as where the ownerlives; manse.
Origin
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English, plural of main, aphetic variant of Middle English demain, demeine demesne

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 relating 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 relating 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
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.

main2

[meyn] /meɪn/
noun
1.
a cockfighting match.
Origin
1560-70; perhaps special use of main1; compare main chance

Main

[meyn; German mahyn] /meɪn; German maɪn/
noun
1.
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for mains
  • Pork chops, veal and grilled swordfish are some of the mains on offer.
  • For mains, choose from a variety of steaks here, from dry-aged beef steaks to pork chops and fish steaks.
  • They require us to build roads, waterlines, power mains and sewage systems out to all these outposts we've created.
  • Water crews set new taps on water and sewer mains for residential homes and respond to any water complaints.
  • Where reasonable, sewer mains shall be located under a paved surface.
  • Needham's residential neighborhoods are supplied by a network of smaller diameter water mains.
  • Water main break: occasionally weakened old water mains will split, crack, or fragment.
  • Fanned by high winds, fires from overturned cookstoves and ruptured gas mains spread.
  • Even worse, they pay for bottled water that often comes from the same city mains as the local tap water.
  • The coolest place was between the mains under the fresh air blower.
British Dictionary definitions for mains

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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mains

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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for mains

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.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with mains
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for mains

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mains

7
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for mains