1

main

noun \ ˈmān \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of main

1 : physical strength : force used in the phrase with might and main
2 a : mainland
b : high sea
3 : the chief part : essential point
  • they are in the main well-trained
4 : a pipe, duct, or circuit which carries the combined flow of tributary branches of a utility system
5 a : mainmast
b : mainsail

Examples of main in a Sentence

  1. My radio runs either off batteries or off the mains.

  2. Turn off the water at the mains.

Recent Examples of main from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'main.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of main

in sense 1, from Middle English, from Old English mǣgen; akin to Old High German magan strength, Old English magan to be able; in other senses, from 2main or by shortening — more at may


2

main

adjective

Definition of main

1 : chief, principal
  • the main idea
2 : fully exerted : sheer
  • main force
  • by main strength
3 obsolete : of or relating to a broad expanse (as of sea)
4 : connected with or located near the mainmast or mainsail
5 : expressing the chief predication in a complex sentence
  • the main clause

Examples of main in a Sentence

  1. Speed is the main advantage of this approach.

  2. The company's main office is located in New York.

  3. driving down the main road

  4. This dish can be served as a main course or appetizer.

  5. And now for the main event of the evening!

Recent Examples of main from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'main.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of main

Middle English, from Old English mǣgen-, from mǣgen strength


Main

geographical name \ ˈmīn , ˈmān \

Definition of Main

river 325 miles (523 kilometers) long in south central Germany rising in northern Bavaria in the Fichtelgebirge and flowing west into the Rhine River


MAIN Defined for English Language Learners

main

noun

Definition of main for English Language Learners

  • : the largest pipe in a system of connected pipes

  • the mains : the system of pipes or wires for electricity, gas, or water

  • : the place where electricity, gas, or water enters a building or room


main

adjective

Definition of main for English Language Learners

  • : most important


MAIN Defined for Kids

1

main

adjective \ ˈmān \

Definition of main for Students

: first in size, rank, or importance : chief
  • Go in the main entrance.
  • What's the main reason?

mainly

adverb

2

main

noun

Definition of main for Students

1 : the chief part : essential point
  • The new workers are in the main well trained.
2 : a principal line, tube, or pipe of a utility system
  • water main
  • gas main
3 : high seas
4 : physical strength : force
  • So they stood … both shoving with might and main
  • —Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer


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