Hypertext Webster Gateway: "main"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Main \Main\, n. [F. main hand, L. manus. See {Manual}.]
1. A hand or match at dice. --Prior. Thackeray.

2. A stake played for at dice. [Obs.] --Shak.

3. The largest throw in a match at dice; a throw at dice
within given limits, as in the game of hazard.

4. A match at cockfighting. ``My lord would ride twenty miles
. . . to see a main fought.'' --Thackeray.

5. A main-hamper. [Obs.] --Ainsworth.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Main \Main\, n. [AS. m[ae]gen strength, power, force; akin to
OHG. magan, Icel. megin, and to E. may, v. ?. See {May}, v.]
1. Strength; force; might; violent effort. [Obs., except in
certain phrases.]

There were in this battle of most might and main.
--R. of Gl.

He 'gan advance, With huge force, and with
importable main. --Spenser.

2. The chief or principal part; the main or most important
thing. [Obs., except in special uses.]

Resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the
main, and to use the other two . . . but as
supporters. --Bacon.

3. Specifically:
(a) The great sea, as distinguished from an arm, bay,
etc.; the high sea; the ocean. ``Struggling in the
main.'' --Dryden.
(b) The continent, as distinguished from an island; the
mainland. ``Invaded the main of Spain.'' --Bacon.
(c) principal duct or pipe, as distinguished from lesser
ones; esp. (Engin.), a principal pipe leading to or
from a reservoir; as, a fire main.

{Forcing main}, the delivery pipe of a pump.

{For the main}, or {In the main}, for the most part; in the
greatest part.

{With might and main}, or {With all one's might and main},
with all one's strength; with violent effort.

With might and main they chased the murderous fox.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Main \Main\, adv. [See {Main}, a.]
Very; extremely; as, main heavy. ``I'm main dry.'' --Foote.
[Obs. or Low]

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Main \Main\, a. [From {Main} strength, possibly influenced by
OF. maine, magne, great, L. magnus. Cf. {Magnate}.]
1. Very or extremely strong. [Obs.]

That current with main fury ran. --Daniel.

2. Vast; huge. [Obs.] ``The main abyss.'' --Milton.

3. Unqualified; absolute; entire; sheer. [Obs.] ``It's a man
untruth.'' --Sir W. Scott.

4. Principal; chief; first in size, rank, importance, etc.

Our main interest is to be happy as we can.

5. Important; necessary. [Obs.]

That which thou aright Believest so main to our
success, I bring. --Milton.

{By main force}, by mere force or sheer force; by violent
effort; as, to subdue insurrection by main force.

That Maine which by main force Warwick did win.

{By main strength}, by sheer strength; as, to lift a heavy
weight by main strength.

{Main beam} (Steam Engine), working beam.

{Main boom} (Naut.), the boom which extends the foot of the
mainsail in a fore and aft vessel.

{Main brace}.
(a) (Mech.) The brace which resists the chief strain. Cf.
{Counter brace}.
(b) (Naut.) The brace attached to the main yard.

{Main center} (Steam Engine), a shaft upon which a working
beam or side lever swings.

{Main chance}. See under {Chance}.

{Main couple} (Arch.), the principal truss in a roof.

{Main deck} (Naut.), the deck next below the spar deck; the
principal deck.

{Main keel} (Naut.), the principal or true keel of a vessel,
as distinguished from the false keel.

Syn: Principal; chief; leading; cardinal; capital.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: most important element; "the chief aim of living"; "the main
doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of
America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were
primary targets" [syn: {chief(a)}, {main(a)}, {primary(a)},
2: (grammar) of a clause; able to stand alone syntactically as
a complete sentence; "the main (or independent) clause in
a complex sentence has at least a subject and a verb"
[syn: {independent}, {main(a)}] [ant: {dependent}]
3: of force; of the greatest possible intensity; "by main
strength" [syn: {main(a)}]
n 1: any very large body of (salt) water [syn: {briny}]
2: a principal pipe in a system that distributes water or gas
or electricity or that collects sewage

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