One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
attributive Chief in size or importance.‘a main road’‘the main problem is one of resources’
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, urgentView synonyms
- ‘Here in Australia our main source of electricity is coal, and it's our biggest export earner.’
- ‘They said nothing more on the short walk back to the main open area where tables had now been set up.’
- ‘Gravel pits along the Hudson Bay coast were the third main environmental concern.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The main importance of writing is that it provides good evidence.’
- ‘The third main thrust of the mission, is to measure the radiation environment around the red planet.’
- ‘Last week saw the main parties fighting to win the battle of the box.’
- ‘His main distinguishing feature was the single black eye patch thrown across his left eye.’
- ‘When pre-season is complete, you are ready to start fighting in the main season.’
- ‘Upon leaving, walk down St. Paul's steps and make a right turn onto the first main thoroughfare.’
- ‘The main road was blocked all day till 5.00 pm when the damaged vehicles were moved by cranes.’
- ‘Colibacillus from domestic sewage is one of the main reasons area water is below drinking standard.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The only way out is the one and only main gate.’
- ‘Because of the anticipated size of the main dishes, we unanimously decided to skip starters.’
- ‘Demand was depressed in the main consuming countries last year, so prices should be falling.’
- ‘With the forthcoming London mayoral elections in June, the three main candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.’
- ‘I wandered about, and sat for a while in the main choir listening to the organ.’
1A principal pipe carrying water or gas to buildings, or taking sewage from them.‘a faulty gas main’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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 current flood and two of the previous floods were caused by burst pipes or mains and Essex and Suffolk Water have admitted responsibility.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The pipelaying project is part of a multi-million pound programme of improvements to replace old metal gas mains with new plastic pipes.’
- ‘In part of Stricklandgate, the water and gas mains were close together and set in protective concrete.’
- ‘Numerous leaks have developed from broken water pipes and mains.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Workers have completed repairs, but were today still pumping water out of the gas main before restoring supplies.’
- ‘Water mains and gas, sewer, telephone, and electrical systems were disrupted through the area.’
- ‘The problem was sparked by a burst water pipe on Monday which leaked into the gas mains.’
- ‘Workmen laying a gas pipe drilled through an existing main, causing gas to seep into the cellar of the house.’
- ‘If you have any questions about the location of the gas main, call your gas company.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘We are accelerating this work, and by 2010 will have renewed over 1,100 miles of water mains in London.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Another problem, and one not restricted to the developing world, was the risk of cross contamination of water and sewer mains, he said.’
- ‘It was also delivering water to the camp, where many mains and sewage pipes are broken.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- 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.’
2the mainliterary, archaic The open ocean.
by main force
Through sheer strength.
- ‘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 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.’
- ‘He refused to comply with Henry's demand to accept a delay in payment and set about collecting his due by main force.’
- ‘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.’
in the main
On the whole.
mostly, for the most part, on the whole, largely, by and large, to a large extent, to a great degree, predominantly, chiefly, principallyView synonyms
- ‘The food itself, even though important, is, in the main, a way of coalescing social life.’
- ‘I think, in the main, our members would prefer face to face meetings more regularly.’
- ‘The scheme will be funded in the main by developers building houses at Nursteed Meadows.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘These, in the main, are young people committing offences against other young people.’
- ‘The Church was vibrant, tolerant and its priests were in the main, hard working.’
- ‘It was a victory etched out in the main through a team effort and a very fine one at that.’
- ‘While the Carlow defence in the main was solid there were far too many missed tackles.’
- ‘That issue was dealt with in the main in written submissions following the hearing.’
Middle English: from Old English mægen ‘physical force’, reinforced by Old Norse meginn, megn ‘strong, powerful’, both from a Germanic base meaning ‘have power’.
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 fighting cocks.
- ‘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.’
Late 16th century: probably from the phrase main chance.
A river of southwestern Germany that rises in northern Bavaria and flows west for 310 miles (500 km), through Frankfurt to meet the Rhine River at Mainz.
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