main

noun
\ ˈmān How to pronounce main (audio) \

Definition of main

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : physical strength : force used in the phrase with might and main The next instant we were away down the river, clawing with might and main to keep out of the woods.— Mark Twain
2a : 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
5a : mainmast
b : mainsail

main

adjective

Definition of main (Entry 2 of 3)

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

Main

geographical name
\ ˈmīn How to pronounce Main (audio) , ˈmān\

Definition of Main (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Examples of main in a Sentence

Noun

My radio runs either off batteries or off the mains. Turn off the water at the mains.

Adjective

Speed is the main advantage of this approach. The company's main office is located in New York. driving down the main road This dish can be served as a main course or appetizer. And now for the main event of the evening!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Buy Photo The Philadelphia Water Department says breaks in 48-inch mains — like one that flooded Center City on Tuesday — are rare, but not unheard of. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Recent 48-inch water main breaks in Philadelphia," 3 July 2018 The explosion, which injured 15 and killed Barr, occurred on the corner of Main and Bristol streets after a gas main was struck by a contractor, which caused a leak. Taylor Palmby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "J.J. Watt donates $10,000 to support family of firefighter killed in Sun Prairie explosion," 11 July 2018 WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a private contractor punctured a 4-inch gas main, causing a leak that resulted in the explosion that rained debris around the downtown area and ignited vehicles parked in the area. Todd Richmond, chicagotribune.com, "Firefighter killed, a dozen injured in gas explosion and fire near Madison, Wisconsin," 11 July 2018 Sketches are delivered, petites mains are stitching about, and Lagerfeld is watching over it all with a discerning eye, signing off on each couture creation. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Watch the Trailer for 7 Days Out, the New Netflix Series That Goes Inside a Chanel Couture Show and Other Landmark Events," 11 Dec. 2018 Next, prepare your tongue, and adventurous spirit, for the mains. Lillian Li, Bon Appetit, "We Like Our Crispy Intestines Extra Crispy," 6 June 2018 The easy-to-make relish in this chicken dish adds acidity and goes perfectly with many mains, including pork, beef, and fish. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Roasted Chicken and Garlic Potatoes with Red Pepper Relish," 19 Dec. 2018 Eager to not undergo the same health and financial fallout as Flint, officials decided no students at Detroit’s 106 public schools should be subjected to drinking mains water until a solution can be found and the water declared safe. Mike Householder, The Seattle Times, "Water coolers replace school drinking fountains in Detroit," 4 Sep. 2018 Here, Dior shared a few behind-the-scenes photos of the making of the dress exclusively with Vogue, plus a video of the petites mains at work in the atelier. Emily Farra, Vogue, "When Beige Isn’t Boring: The Story Behind Dior’s Toile de Jouy Couture Gown," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The couple looking at engagement rings in the main area will testify. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "How to See the Next Jewelry Masterpiece," 14 Mar. 2019 Hale will star alongside three other main characters, one of whom will be an older Josie McCoy from Riverdale, played by Ashleigh Murray. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "What Is 'Katy Keene' About? This 'Riverdale' Spin-Off Is Star-Studded," 12 Mar. 2019 While Diego's main love interest was Detective Patch and Vanya's was Leonard, in the comics, the two of them actually have a romantic backstory. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "13 Differences Between "The Umbrella Academy" Comics and TV Show," 8 Mar. 2019 Back then, Sean was cast as a recurring character, but was turned into a main role at the start of season 2. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'NCIS' Star Sean Murray Reveals What It's Really Like to Work With Mark Harmon," 23 Feb. 2019 Ryan and Diego noted that their favorite space in the home is the main living area. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Ryan Brown and Diego Monchamp’s Montecito Beach House Makes Clever Use Of Closet Space," 1 Feb. 2019 The heliosphere is important in keeping dangerous cosmic rays from the interstellar medium out of the main areas of the solar system. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Why Voyager 2 Is In Interstellar Space But Not Out of the Solar System," 13 Dec. 2018 Floor-to-ceiling windows let light into the main living and dining areas, and the master bedroom looks out onto a lovely patio area with pergola. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Renovated midcentury near Las Vegas wants $437K," 2 Nov. 2018 And pushing the status and notification icons up there means that the main content area can be a little bit larger. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL review: the best camera gets a better phone," 15 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of main

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for main

Noun

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 main entry 2 or by shortening — more at may

Adjective

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

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Statistics for main

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for main

The first known use of main was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for main

main

noun

English Language Learners Definition of main

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the largest pipe in a system of connected pipes
: 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

English Language Learners Definition of main (Entry 2 of 2)

: most important

main

adjective
\ ˈmān How to pronounce main (audio) \

Kids Definition of main

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from main

mainly adverb

main

noun

Kids Definition of main (Entry 2 of 2)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on main

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with main

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for main

Spanish Central: Translation of main

Nglish: Translation of main for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of main for Arabic Speakers

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