/mayn/, adj.
1. chief in size, extent, or importance; principal; leading: the company's main office; the main features of a plan.
2. sheer; utmost, as strength or force: to lift a stone by main force.
3. of or pertaining to a broad expanse: main sea.
4. Gram. syntactically independent; capable of use in isolation. Cf. dependent (def. 4), independent (def. 14), main clause.
5. Naut.
a. of or pertaining to a mainmast.
b. noting or pertaining to a sail, yard, boom, etc., or to any rigging belonging to a mainmast.
c. noting any stay running aft and upward to the head of a mainmast: main topmast stay.
6. Obs.
a. having or exerting great strength or force; mighty.
b. having momentous or important results; significant.
7. a principal pipe or duct in a system used to distribute water, gas, etc.
8. physical strength, power, or force: to struggle with might and main.
9. the chief or principal part or point: The main of their investments was lost during the war.
10. Literary. the open ocean; high sea: the bounding main.
11. the mainland.
12. in the main, for the most part; chiefly: In the main, the novel was dull reading.
13. South Midland U.S. (chiefly Appalachian). very; exceedingly: The dogs treed a main big coon.
v.i., v.t.
14. Slang. mainline.
[bef. 900; (n.) ME meyn, mayn strength, power, OE maegen, c. ON megin(n), megn strength; (adj.) ME mayn, partly < ON megenn, megn strong, partly independent use of OE maegen (n.) taken as an adj. in compounds, as in maegen-weorc, lit., work of might]
Syn. 1. cardinal, prime, paramount, primary, capital. 2. pure, direct. 7. conduit. 8. might.
Ant. 1. secondary, least. 8. weakness.
/mayn/, n.
a cockfighting match.
[1560-70; perh. special use of MAIN1; cf. main chance]

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(as used in expressions)

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Universalium. 2010.

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