Share this entry

Share this page


Pronunciation: /mɛ̃/

Translation of main in English:


  • 2une main secourable a helping hand une main criminelle someone with criminal intentions
  • 3avoir qch sous la main to have sth to hand cela m'est tombé sous la main I just happened to come across it mettre la main sur qch to get one's hands on sth je n'arrive pas à mettre la main dessus I can't lay my hands on it je l'ai eu entre les mains mais... I did have it but... être entre les mains de qn [power] to be in sb's hands prendre qn/qch en mains to take sb/sth in hand à ne pas mettre entre toutes les mains [book] not for general reading tomber entre les mains de qn to fall into sb's hands les mains vides empty-handed je le lui ai remis en mains propres I gave it to him/her in person de la main à la main [sell] privately être payé de la main à la main to be paid cash (in hand)
  • 4écrit de la main du président written by the president himself de ma plus belle main in my best handwriting
  • 7à main droite/gauche on the right/left


main courante


j'en mettrais ma main au feu or à couper

I'd swear to it

d'une main de fer

with an iron rod

il n'y est pas allé de main morte!

[fam], he didn't pull his punches!

avoir la main leste

to be always ready with a slap

faire main basse sur

to help oneself to [goods]; to take over [market, country]

en venir aux mains

to come to blows

avoir la main heureuse

to be lucky

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day apathetic
Pronunciation: apəˈθɛtɪk
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern