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Main (?), n. [F. main hand, L. manus. See Manual.]


A hand or match at dice.

Prior. Thackeray.


A stake played for at dice.




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


A match at cockfighting.

"My lord would ride twenty miles . . . to see a main fought."



A main-hamper.




© Webster 1913.

Main, n. [AS. maegen strength, power, force; akin to OHG. magan, Icel. megin, and to E. may, v. . See May, v.]


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.


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, ∨ In the main, for the most part; in the greatest part. -- With might and main, ∨ With all one's might and main, with all one's strength; with violent effort.

With might and main they chased the murderous fox. Dryden.


© Webster 1913.

Main (?), a. [From Main strength, possibly influenced by OF. maine, magne, great, L. magnus. Cf. Magnate.]


Very or extremely strong.


That current with main fury ran. Daniel.


Vast; huge.

[Obs.] "The main abyss."



Unqualified; absolute; entire; sheer.

[Obs.] "It's a man untruth." Sir W. Scott.


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

Our main interest is to be happy as we can. Tillotson.


Important; necessary.


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. Shak.

-- 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.


© Webster 1913.

Main, adv. [See Main, a.]

Very extremely; as, main heavy.

"I'm main dry." Foote. [Obs. or Low]


© Webster 1913.