Meaning of MAIN in English

MAIN

I. main 1 S1 W1 /meɪn/ BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: mægen- , from mægen 'strength' ]

1 . larger or more important than all other things, ideas etc of the same kind:

The main reason for living in Spain is the weather.

What do you consider to be the main problem?

Our main concern is that the children are safe.

a summary of the main points of the agreement

the main aim of the meeting

I’ll meet you outside the main entrance.

the main bedroom

2 . the main thing spoken used to say what is the most important thing in a situation:

As long as you’re not hurt, that’s the main thing.

The main thing is not to panic.

⇨ an eye for/on/to the main chance at ↑ eye 1 (22)

• • •

THESAURUS

▪ main larger or more important than all the others:

the main entrance of the building

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the main reason for his decision

▪ chief/principal most important. Chief and principal are more formal than main , and are often used in written English:

Coffee is the country’s principal export.

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What is the company’s chief objective?

▪ major very important or serious:

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease.

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Street crime is becoming a major problem.

▪ key most important, or the one that everything or everyone else depends on:

Education is likely to be a key issue in the election campaign.

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Hooper was a key member of the team.

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Diet is key.

▪ number one especially spoken most important or best - this phrase sounds a little informal and it is used especially in spoken English:

Reliability is the number one priority.

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the number one cause of death

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He is still in the number one position.

▪ primary most important - used especially about the most important aim, role, cause, or concern. Primary is more formal than main :

The primary aim of the project was to help students develop their communication skills.

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Security is our primary concern.

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The primary function of the university was considered to be the teaching of ‘the great cultural disciplines’.

▪ prime very important or most important - used especially about the most important reason, cause, or aim, or about the most likely ↑ target or ↑ suspect . Prime is more formal than main :

Their prime objective is to increase profits for their shareholders.

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Tourists are prime targets for theft and robbery.

▪ core most important - used especially about the things that people should pay most attention to:

the core skills of reading and writing

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He wants the company to focus on its core business - advertising.

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The party’s core values are individual freedom and reducing the amount of government bureaucracy.

▪ central most important and having more influence than anything else:

The U.S. played a central role in the peace negotiations.

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a central theme of the book

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The central question is, why are people still so attached to their cars?

▪ predominant most common, typical, or important:

Yellow was the predominant colour everywhere.

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High arched windows are a predominant feature in English churches.

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New York still has a predominant role in the contemporary art world.

II. main 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . [countable] a large pipe or wire carrying the public supply of water, electricity, or gas:

The report found that many of Yorkshire’s water mains needed replacing.

a burst gas main

2 . British English

a) the mains the place on a wall where you can connect something to a supply of electricity:

You can run the torch off batteries or plug it into the mains.

at the mains

Make sure that the television is turned off at the mains.

b) mains gas/water/electricity gas, water, or electricity supplied to a building through a pipe or wire:

The heater will run off mains gas or bottled gas.

3 . in the main mostly:

Their job in the main consisted of cleaning and maintaining the building.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.