Definition of


  1. (noun, object) any very large body of (salt) water
  2. (noun, artifact) a principal pipe in a system that distributes water or gas or electricity or that collects sewage
  3. (adj, all) most important element
    the main doors were of solid glass
    the principal rivers of America
    the principal example
    policemen were primary targets
    the master bedroom
    a master switch
  4. (adj, all) (of a clause) capable of standing syntactically alone as a complete sentence
  5. (adj, all) of force; of the greatest possible intensity

via WordNet, Princeton University

Alternate forms of Main

Hyponyms: electric main, gas main, sewer line, sewer main, water main

Hypernyms: body of water, pipage, pipe, piping, water

Origin of the word Main

  1. O.E. m?gen (n.) "power, strength, force," from P.Gmc. *maginam- "power," from *mag- "be able, have power" (see may). 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 1548 for "continuous stretch of land or water." more
  2. early 13c., "large, bulky, strong," from O.E. m?gen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (see main (n.)), probably infl. by O.N. megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400. In Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast between Panama and Orinoco. Main man "favorite male friend, hero" is from 1… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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