There are 3 main definitions of main in English:

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main1

Syllabification: main
Pronunciation: /mān
 
/

adjective

[attributive]
Chief in size or importance: a main road the main problem is one of resources
More example sentences
  • With the forthcoming London mayoral elections in June, the three main candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.
  • The only way out is the one and only main gate.
  • I wandered about, and sat for a while in the main choir listening to the organ.
Synonyms
principal, chief, head, leading, foremost, most important, major, ruling, dominant, central, focal, key, prime, master, premier, primary, first, first-line, fundamental, supreme, predominant, (most) prominent, preeminent, paramount, overriding, cardinal, crucial, critical, pivotal, salient, elemental, essential, staple

noun

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1A principal pipe carrying water or gas to buildings, or taking sewage from them: a faulty gas main
More example sentences
  • It was also delivering water to the camp, where many mains and sewage pipes are broken.
  • Numerous leaks have developed from broken water pipes and mains.
  • There were reports of broken water and gas mains around northern Kyushu, and bullet trains and other railways and subways suspended operations, but later resumed running.
Synonyms
pipe, channel, duct, conduit
1.1British A principal cable carrying electricity.
Example sentences
  • Faulks said the alarm was not properly connected to electrical mains and would have had to rely on a back-up battery even if switched on.
2 (the main) archaic or literary The open ocean.
3 Nautical short for mainsail or mainmast.
Example sentences
  • I told him not to touch the main, and to let go the port jib sheet and haul it in starboard side.

Origin

Middle English: from Old English mægen 'physical force', reinforced by Old Norse meginn, megn 'strong, powerful', both from a Germanic base meaning 'have power'.

Phrases

by main force

1
Through sheer strength.
Example sentences
  • The point of the author is that the accursed sons are trying to claim the blessing given to Shem by main force, as though power and strength are our salvation.
  • The initial reflex of the regime was to do what it has always done, i.e. crushing the slightest show of opposition by main force.
  • And then we shall henceforth decide by main force what truth and goodness shall be.

in the main

2
On the whole; chiefly.
Example sentences
  • The food itself, even though important, is, in the main, a way of coalescing social life.
  • The Church was vibrant, tolerant and its priests were in the main, hard working.
  • These, in the main, are young people committing offences against other young people.

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There are 3 main definitions of main in English:

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main2

Syllabification: main
Pronunciation: /mān
 
/

noun

1 historical A match between fighting cocks.
Example sentences
  • At a big cockfight main with Massa Lea early during the 1824 season, Uncle Mingo heard from an old trainer he had known for years that a hackfight was due to be held that coming Saturday afternoon behind the large barn of a local plantation.
2(In the game of hazard) a number (5, 6, 7, 8, or 9) called by a player before dice are thrown.

Origin

late 16th century: probably from the phrase main chance.

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There are 3 main definitions of main in English:

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Main3

Syllabification: Main
Pronunciation: /mīn
 
/
A river of southwestern Germany that rises in northern Bavaria and flows west for 310 miles (500 km), through Frankfurt to meet the Rhine River at Mainz.

Definition of main in:

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