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Main Definition

Other Main Definition

[n] a principal pipe in a system that distributes water or gas or electricity or that collects sewage
[n] any very large body of (salt) water

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Misc. Definitions

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

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