main·​prise | \ ˈmānˌprīz \
plural -s

Definition of mainprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an undertaking given to a magistrate or court that even without having an accused in custody one will be liable for the appearance of the accused on a fixed day to defend any and all charges to be brought against him — compare bail


transitive verb
\ " \

Definition of mainprise (Entry 2 of 2)

: to release or procure the release of on mainprise

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for mainprise


Middle English meinprise, from Anglo-French, from mainprendre to accept surety, from Old French main hand (from Latin manus) + prendre (past participle pris) to take (act of capturing)

Transitive verb

Middle English mainprisen, meinprisen, from Anglo-French meinprise, noun

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mainprise

Statistics for mainprise

Cite this Entry

“Mainprise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Comments on mainprise

What made you want to look up mainprise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!