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
- ‘Frequently, teachers would use students as main characters in problem-solving situations.’
- ‘Inside, the main living area is open plan, with the sitting room separated from the kitchen by an archway.’
- ‘Here in Australia our main source of electricity is coal, and it's our biggest export earner.’
- ‘Colibacillus from domestic sewage is one of the main reasons area water is below drinking standard.’
- ‘Because of the anticipated size of the main dishes, we unanimously decided to skip starters.’
- ‘The main importance of writing is that it provides good evidence.’
- ‘With the forthcoming London mayoral elections in June, the three main candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.’
- ‘The main TV networks have lost a third of their audience over the past twenty years.’
- ‘Last week saw the main parties fighting to win the battle of the box.’
- ‘They appear to have settled chiefly in the north and center of the main island.’
- ‘I wandered about, and sat for a while in the main choir listening to the organ.’
- ‘Gravel pits along the Hudson Bay coast were the third main environmental concern.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Demand was depressed in the main consuming countries last year, so prices should be falling.’
- ‘They said nothing more on the short walk back to the main open area where tables had now been set up.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Upon leaving, walk down St. Paul's steps and make a right turn onto the first main thoroughfare.’
- ‘The only way out is the one and only main gate.’
1A principal pipe carrying water or gas to buildings, or taking sewage from them.‘a faulty gas main’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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 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.’
- ‘Another problem, and one not restricted to the developing world, was the risk of cross contamination of water and sewer mains, he said.’
- ‘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 pipelaying project is part of a multi-million pound programme of improvements to replace old metal gas mains with new plastic pipes.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Workmen laying a gas pipe drilled through an existing main, causing gas to seep into the cellar of the house.’
- ‘Numerous leaks have developed from broken water pipes and mains.’
- ‘The problem was sparked by a burst water pipe on Monday which leaked into the gas mains.’
- ‘In part of Stricklandgate, the water and gas mains were close together and set in protective concrete.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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 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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The current flood and two of the previous floods were caused by burst pipes or mains and Essex and Suffolk Water have admitted responsibility.’
- ‘It was also delivering water to the camp, where many mains and sewage pipes are broken.’
- 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 mainarchaic, literary The open ocean.sea, ocean, deep, brineView synonyms
by main force
Through sheer strength.
- ‘He refused to comply with Henry's demand to accept a delay in payment and set about collecting his due by main force.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘And then we shall henceforth decide by main force what truth and goodness shall be.’
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, principallymainly, mostly, for the most part, on the whole, largely, by and large, to a large extent, to a great degree, predominantly, chiefly, principallyView synonyms
- ‘It pays, though, to take note of these things and, in the main, to abide by them.’
- ‘I think, in the main, our members would prefer face to face meetings more regularly.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The scheme will be funded in the main by developers building houses at Nursteed Meadows.’
- ‘While the Carlow defence in the main was solid there were far too many missed tackles.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The way the law is going, these birds continue in the main to be protected.’
- ‘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 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.’
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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