{{11}}main (adj.) early 13c., "large, bulky, strong," from O.E. mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (e.g. mægensibb "great love," mægenbyrðen "heavy burden;" see MAIN (Cf. main) (n.)), probably also from or influenced by O.N. megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400. Main course in the meal sense attested from 1829. Main man "favorite male friend; hero" is from 1967, U.S. black slang.
{{12}}main (n.) O.E. mægen (n.) "power, bodily strength, force, efficacy," from P.Gmc. *maginam "power," suffixed form of PIE root *magh- (1) "be able, have power" (see MAY (Cf. may) (v.)). Original sense preserved in phrase with might and main. Meaning "principal channel in a utility system" is first recorded 1727 in main drain; Used since 1540s for "continuous stretch of land or water." In Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast between Panama and Orinoco.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • Main — (m[=a]n), a. [From {Main} strength, possibly influenced by OF. maine, magne, great, L. magnus. Cf. {Magnate}.] 1. Very or extremely strong. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] That current with main fury ran. Daniel. [1913 Webster] 2. Vast; huge. [Obs.] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Main — Main, n. [AS. m[ae]gen strength, power, force; akin to OHG. magan, Icel. megin, and to E. may, v. [root]103. See {May}, v.] 1. Strength; force; might; violent effort. [Obs., except in certain phrases.] [1913 Webster] There were in this battle of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • main — (m[=a]n), n. [F. main hand, L. manus. See {Manual}.] 1. A hand or match at dice. Prior. Thackeray. [1913 Webster] 2. A stake played for at dice. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. The largest throw in a match at dice; a throw at dice within given… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Main — Main, adv. [See {Main}, a.] Very; extremely; as, main heavy. I m main dry. Foote. [Obs. or Low] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • MAIN — s. f. Partie du corps humain, qui est à l extrémité du bras, qui s étend depuis le poignet jusqu au bout des doigts, et que sa conformation rend propre à toute sorte d actions et d ouvrages. La main droite. La main gauche. Le creux, le dedans, la …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • MAIN — n. f. Partie du corps humain qui est à l’extrémité du bras, qui s’étend depuis le poignet jusqu’au bout des doigts, qui sert à la préhension, qui est le principal organe du toucher et que sa conformation rend propre à toute sorte d’actions et… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • Main — For the Wikipedia website front page, see Main Page. For the Wikipedia main namespace, see Help:Namespace. Main may refer to: Main (river), a major river and tributary of the Rhine in Germany Main River (Chukotka), a river in Far Eastern Siberia… …   Wikipedia

  • main — I. noun Etymology: 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 Date: before 12th century 1. physical… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Main — geographical name river 325 miles (523 kilometers) S central Germany rising in N Bavaria in the Fichtelgebirge & flowing W into the Rhine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Main Street — in Salinas, California For other uses, see Main Street (disambiguation). Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name (and often the official name) of the primary retail street of a village, tow …   Wikipedia

  • Main-Neckar Railway — (Main Neckar Bahn) Route number: 650 Line number: 3601 Line length: 87.5 km (54.4 mi) Gauge …   Wikipedia

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