Etymology
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Words related to main

*magh- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be able, have power." It forms all or part of: dismay; deus ex machina; may (v.1) "am able;" might (n.) "bodily strength, power;" main; machine; mechanic; mechanism; mechano-; mage; magi; magic.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mahan "great;" Greek mēkhanē "device, means," mekhos, makhos "means, instrument;" Old Church Slavonic mošti, Russian moč' "can, be able;" Old English mæg "I can," Gothic mag "can, is able," Old High German magan, Old Norse magn "power, might."

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mainland (n.)

c. 1400, mainlond, "continent, principal land," from main (adj.) + land (n.). Usually referring to continuous bodies of land and not islands or peninsulas. Related: Mainlander. Mainland China, referring to the People's Republic (as opposed to Taiwan) is attested by 1955.

Spanish (adj.)

c. 1200, Spainisc, from Spaine "Spain," from Old French Espaigne (see Spaniard) + -ish. Replaced Old English Speonisc. Altered 16c. by influence of Latin. As a noun, "the Spanish language," from late 15c.

For Spanish Main see main. Spanish moss is attested from 1823. Spanish fly, the fabled aphrodisiac (ground-up cantharis blister-beetles), is attested from c. 1600. Spanish-American War was so called in British press speculations early 1898, even before it began in April. For Spanish Inquisition (by c. 1600), see inquisition.

amain (adv.)

"with violence, strength, or force," 1530s, from main (adj.) by analogy with other words in a- (such as afoot).

main line (n.)

"principal line of a railway," 1841, from main (adj.) + line (n.). Meaning "affluent area of residence" is by 1917, originally (with capitals) that west of Philadelphia, from the "main line" of the Pennsylvania Railroad which added local stops to a string of backwater towns west of the city late 19c. that helped turn them into fashionable suburbs.

The Main Line, Philadelphia's most famous suburban district, was deliberately conceived in the 1870's and 1880's by the [Pennsylvania] Railroad, which built high-toned housing developments, ran hotels, more or less forced its executives to plunk their estates out there, and created a whole series of somewhat spurious Welsh towns along the railroad tracks. ... Now everybody assumes these all date from 1682, like the Robertses; but as Chestnut Hill people like to say, "nobody but Welsh peasants lived on the Main Line till the Railroad built it up." [Nathaniel Burt, "The Perennial Philadelphians," 1963]

The original station stops were, in order out from the city, Overbrook, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Paoli. The train line for commuters along it is the Paoli Local.

Main Street (n.)

"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810, from main (adj.) + street. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., a sense reinforced by the publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).

But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. ["Main Street"]
mainframe (n.)

"central processor of a computer system," 1964, from main (adj.) + frame (n.).

mainly (adv.)

c. 1300, "vigorously, strongly, forcibly" (a sense now obsolete), from main (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "especially, chiefly, principally" is from c. 1400; that of "for the most part" is from 1660s.

mainmast (n.)

also main-mast, "the tallest mast in a sailing ship," late 15c., from main (adj.) + mast (n.1). In three-masted vessels, the middle mast; in four-masted ships the second from the bow.

mainsail (n.)

also main-sail, in a square-rigged vessel, the sail bent to the main-yard, mid-15c., see main (adj.) + sail (n.).