From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmainmain1 /meɪn/ ●●● S1 W1 adjective [only before noun] 1 MAINlarger 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► see thesaurus at important2 → the main thing → an eye for/on/to the main chance at eye1(22)THESAURUSmain larger or more important than all the othersthe main entrance of the buildingthe main reason for his decisionchief/principal most important. Chief and principal are more formal than main, and are often used in written EnglishCoffee is the country’s principal export.What is the company’s chief objective?major very important or seriousSmoking is a major cause of heart disease.Street crime is becoming a major problem.key most important, or the one that everything or everyone else depends onEducation is likely to be a key issue in the election campaign.Hooper was a key member of the team. Diet is key. number one especially spoken most important or best – this phrase sounds a little informal and it is used especially in spoken EnglishReliability is the number one priority.the number one cause of death 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 mainThe primary aim of the project was to help students develop their communication skills.Security is our primary concern.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 mainTheir prime objective is to increase profits for their shareholders.Tourists are prime targets for theft and robbery. core most important – used especially about the things that people should pay most attention tothe core skills of reading and writingHe wants the company to focus on its core business – advertising.The party’s core values are individual freedom and reducing the amount of government bureaucracy.central most important and having more influence than anything elseThe U.S. played a central role in the peace negotiations.a central theme of the bookThe central question is, why are people still so attached to their cars?predominant most common, typical, or importantYellow was the predominant colour everywhere. High arched windows are a predominant feature in English churches.New York still has a predominant role in the contemporary art world.
Examples from the Corpusmain• Gigi will be working the main cash register.• Our main concern was "What did we do wrong?"• The study came up with two main conclusions.• It's possible that he tiptoed down the passage and came in by the main door.• We walked up the stairs to the main entrance of the building.• This chapter provides a brief summary of the main findings of the initial destinations survey.• You should clearly state your main idea at the beginning of the essay.• After a week of work, he managed to build the main logic board.• Ben's main problem was lack of money.• The main reason for this change is money, and the consequent pressure on hospital beds.• Well, that's the main reason I was calling.• The main reason kids don't get vaccinated is that parents don't realize how important it is.• My grandparents' village was a small place off the main road, away from busy roads and with no mains services.• I think the next main road is where we have to turn left.• Unusual numbers of dead holly trees with senescent branches or main trunks; 2.• Consumer Research and Electronic Commerce Evaluating customer preference is the main uncertainty facing application designers.mainmain2 noun 1 [countable]TBC 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 main2 British English a) the mainsTEEDHH 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/electricityTP 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
Examples from the Corpusmain• Heberle confirms the mains will be buried between 36 inches and 44 inches deep.• But in the main, he found that a man must hammer out his theology alone.• They feed, in the main, on flowering plants, themselves evolved from ancestors without flowers.• I think that, in the main, they are.• A broken water main flooded the building's garage.• Building London's ring water main is not a job for the fainthearted.Origin main1 Old English mægen-, from mægen “strength”