Main definitions of main in English

: main1main2Main3

main1

adjective

  • attributive Chief in size or importance.

    ‘a main road’
    ‘the main problem is one of resources’
    • ‘Last week saw the main parties fighting to win the battle of the box.’
    • ‘Upon leaving, walk down St. Paul's steps and make a right turn onto the first main thoroughfare.’
    • ‘The main TV networks have lost a third of their audience over the past twenty years.’
    • ‘Frequently, teachers would use students as main characters in problem-solving situations.’
    • ‘With the forthcoming London mayoral elections in June, the three main candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.’
    • ‘Here in Australia our main source of electricity is coal, and it's our biggest export earner.’
    • ‘When pre-season is complete, you are ready to start fighting in the main season.’
    • ‘The third main thrust of the mission, is to measure the radiation environment around the red planet.’
    • ‘His main distinguishing feature was the single black eye patch thrown across his left eye.’
    • ‘The main road was blocked all day till 5.00 pm when the damaged vehicles were moved by cranes.’
    • ‘Gravel pits along the Hudson Bay coast were the third main environmental concern.’
    • ‘They said nothing more on the short walk back to the main open area where tables had now been set up.’
    • ‘Because of the anticipated size of the main dishes, we unanimously decided to skip starters.’
    • ‘The only way out is the one and only main gate.’
    • ‘Inside, the main living area is open plan, with the sitting room separated from the kitchen by an archway.’
    • ‘They appear to have settled chiefly in the north and center of the main island.’
    • ‘Demand was depressed in the main consuming countries last year, so prices should be falling.’
    • ‘Colibacillus from domestic sewage is one of the main reasons area water is below drinking standard.’
    • ‘The main importance of writing is that it provides good evidence.’
    • ‘I wandered about, and sat for a while in the main choir listening to the organ.’
    principal, chief, head, leading, foremost, most important, major, ruling, dominant, central, focal, key, prime, master, premier, primary, first, high, grand, fundamental, supreme, predominant, prominent, most prominent, pre-eminent, paramount, overriding, cardinal, crucial, vital, critical, capital, pivotal, salient, elemental, essential, staple, intrinsic, urgent
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noun

  • 1A principal pipe carrying water or gas to buildings, or taking sewage from them.

    with modifier ‘a faulty gas main’
    • ‘It was also delivering water to the camp, where many mains and sewage pipes are broken.’
    • ‘Another problem, and one not restricted to the developing world, was the risk of cross contamination of water and sewer mains, he said.’
    • ‘In part of Stricklandgate, the water and gas mains were close together and set in protective concrete.’
    • ‘Council heard upgrades to the water and sewer mains there will need upgrading to properly service the proposed affordable housing complex on the former community hall site.’
    • ‘The current flood and two of the previous floods were caused by burst pipes or mains and Essex and Suffolk Water have admitted responsibility.’
    • ‘The pipelaying project is part of a multi-million pound programme of improvements to replace old metal gas mains with new plastic pipes.’
    • ‘If you have any questions about the location of the gas main, call your gas company.’
    • ‘We are accelerating this work, and by 2010 will have renewed over 1,100 miles of water mains in London.’
    • ‘There were reports of broken water and gas mains around northern Kyushu, and bullet trains and other railways and subways suspended operations, but later resumed running.’
    • ‘Since the overwhelming majority of us are connected to the electricity grid, gas mains or both, the scourge of indoor air pollution is not a killer.’
    • ‘Workers have completed repairs, but were today still pumping water out of the gas main before restoring supplies.’
    • ‘Because of this, the water main was above the gas main, and had been encased in concrete to protect it from the heavy traffic above.’
    • ‘Workmen laying a gas pipe drilled through an existing main, causing gas to seep into the cellar of the house.’
    • ‘The problem was sparked by a burst water pipe on Monday which leaked into the gas mains.’
    • ‘The area the city you're talking about, we did have a lot of water in the gas mains, the low pressure gas lines that were affected.’
    • ‘The first phase of roadworks, which will involve replacing existing gas mains with modern plastic piping, started in Cambridge Road, near the junction with Park Road, on Monday.’
    • ‘Water would also begin to be a problem as the rubble thrown out by the blast dammed the river, which soon started to overflow its banks where its waters mixed with sewage from broken mains.’
    • ‘Water mains and gas, sewer, telephone, and electrical systems were disrupted through the area.’
    • ‘Numerous leaks have developed from broken water pipes and mains.’
    • ‘Chris Watts, 40, of Peldon, was using a mechanical digger in the front garden of a house in London Road, Marks Tey, when he hit electricity and gas mains.’
    1. 1.1 A principal cable carrying electricity.
      • ‘Faulks said the alarm was not properly connected to electrical mains and would have had to rely on a back-up battery even if switched on.’
    2. 1.2the mainsBritish The source of public water, gas, or electricity supply through pipes or cables.
      ‘the camcorder can be run directly off the mains’
      as modifier ‘switch off the mains supply’
      • ‘Power supply units can either be a battery unit or transformer which adjusts mains power to the correct level for an appliance.’
      • ‘Crina Bottom, a detached house nestling in the heart of the famous Dales landscape, does not have mains electricity and is serviced by a generator which runs on oil.’
      • ‘Though the ‘property’ has no running water, no gas supply, no mains electricity and the nearest car park is two miles away, it does boast a solar roof panel, a cylinder gas kitchenette and a bunk bed.’
      • ‘Future versions of the car could include batteries that can be recharged from mains electricity.’
      • ‘Improved water pressure means most of the chemistry department's needs can now be met by the mains supply.’
      • ‘The owner will have to install private drainage, link up to the mains water and electricity and rebuild the property under the watchful eye of the park planners.’
      • ‘The Kershaws have no mains electricity or sewer, they drink untreated spring water and sometimes use candle light.’
      • ‘An oil-fired Rayburn in the fitted kitchen provides heating and hot water, while the house has mains electricity.’
      • ‘Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.’
      • ‘A spokesman for Essex and Suffolk Water, who sent technicians on Friday, said that a leak had been found in the mains water supply.’
      • ‘Contractors were at the scene by about 9am to dig up the road and repair the mains.’
      • ‘Amenities to the main house include oil-fired central heating to most of the rooms, mains electricity and a private water supply.’
      • ‘Make sure that you know how to switch off the mains supply at the fuse box, and store spare fuses in a handy place.’
      • ‘We had taken the precaution of bringing the car battery charger from England, but that is not much use if you have no mains electricity.’
      • ‘Officers are advising anyone who has purchased a set of the lights to examine the lampholders while they are disconnected from the mains supply.’
      • ‘In these circumstances, the user could be exposed to electrical shock if the other end of the power lead is still connected to the mains electrical supply.’
      • ‘A tall Christmas tree will light up outside a farmhouse in Watendlath today as the last Lake District hamlet is connected to mains electricity.’
      • ‘One room under construction will be an Internet cafe, yet there is no mains electricity here to run air conditioning.’
      • ‘The distribution network needed to be replaced with new piping, with suitably sized mains to provide adequate supply to all areas of the scheme.’
      • ‘However, it would be possible to install a standby generator, which would ensure power in the event of a failure of the mains supply.’
  • 2the mainliterary, archaic The open ocean.

    sea, ocean, deep, brine
    View synonyms
  • 3Nautical

    short for mainsail or mainmast
    • ‘I told him not to touch the main, and to let go the port jib sheet and haul it in starboard side.’

Phrases

  • by main force

    • Through sheer strength.

      ‘we will prevail not by main force but by negotiation’
      • ‘The point of the author is that the accursed sons are trying to claim the blessing given to Shem by main force, as though power and strength are our salvation.’
      • ‘And then we shall henceforth decide by main force what truth and goodness shall be.’
      • ‘Lex was carted back to the nursery by main force, and Lionel buried himself in his work, ignoring the howls that echoed down the hallway.’
      • ‘The initial reflex of the regime was to do what it has always done, i.e. crushing the slightest show of opposition by main force.’
      • ‘This caused the walls to sink and split, allowing an assault to be made on the breach by main force, hopefully bringing the siege to a speedy conclusion.’
      • ‘He refused to comply with Henry's demand to accept a delay in payment and set about collecting his due by main force.’
  • in the main

    • On the whole.

      ‘we must remember that in the main we are thinking about these designs as decoration’
      • ‘While the Carlow defence in the main was solid there were far too many missed tackles.’
      • ‘It pays, though, to take note of these things and, in the main, to abide by them.’
      • ‘The way the law is going, these birds continue in the main to be protected.’
      • ‘The scheme will be funded in the main by developers building houses at Nursteed Meadows.’
      • ‘The food itself, even though important, is, in the main, a way of coalescing social life.’
      • ‘The Church was vibrant, tolerant and its priests were in the main, hard working.’
      • ‘I think, in the main, our members would prefer face to face meetings more regularly.’
      • ‘It was a victory etched out in the main through a team effort and a very fine one at that.’
      • ‘These, in the main, are young people committing offences against other young people.’
      • ‘That issue was dealt with in the main in written submissions following the hearing.’
      mostly, for the most part, on the whole, largely, by and large, to a large extent, to a great degree, predominantly, chiefly, principally
      mainly, mostly, for the most part, on the whole, largely, by and large, to a large extent, to a great degree, predominantly, chiefly, principally
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old English mægen ‘physical force’, reinforced by Old Norse meginn, megn ‘strong, powerful’, both from a Germanic base meaning ‘have power’.

Pronunciation

main

/meɪn/

Main definitions of main in English

: main1main2Main3

main2

noun

  • 1(in the game of hazard) a number (5, 6, 7, 8, or 9) called by a player before dice are thrown.

  • 2historical A match between gamecocks.

    • ‘At a big cockfight main with Massa Lea early during the 1824 season, Uncle Mingo heard from an old trainer he had known for years that a hackfight was due to be held that coming Saturday afternoon behind the large barn of a local plantation.’

Origin

Late 16th century: probably from the phrase main chance.

Pronunciation

main

/meɪn/

Main definitions of main in English

: main1main2Main3

Main3

proper noun

  • A river of south-western Germany which rises in northern Bavaria and flows 500 km (310 miles) westwards, through Frankfurt, to meet the River Rhine at Mainz.

Pronunciation

Main

/mʌɪn/