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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Main, Mayn(e, Mane, n.1 Also: maine, mean, meayn, mene, meyne. [ME. and e.m.E. main, mayne, ME. meine, meyne, OE. mæᵹzen, ON. magn, megn, megin.]Only in verse, except in the surviving sense 2 b (1).Commonly rhyming with again, pain, slain, also chiftane (Barb. vi. 318), disdane (Rolland Seven S. Prol. 81), fane (Leg. S. xvi. 855), forgayn (Doug. xii. xiv. 148), haltane (Alex. ii. 7230), plain (Alex. i. 2358 etc.), rain (Wynt. i. 964), twain (Doug. iii. x. 24), and also, once each, allane (Prestis of Peblis 106) and ilkane (Alex. i. 2164).

1. Might; esp. physical strength in combat, doughtiness.Common in the formula man etc. of (mekill) mayn. Very common in Barbour and Alex. Also coupled with mude and micht.Also plur.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 444.
With mony man off mekill mayn [: agayn]
Ib. iv. 208.
Quhill I, throu mekill mayn [: payn] … Jerusalem had tane
Ib. ix. 152.
As men of mayn [: agayn]
Ib. xvi. 5. c1475 Wall. i. 320, ii. 59, vii. 30, 702. 1513 Doug. xii. v. 109.
As men of mayn [R. mane]
(b) c1420 Wynt. vii. 152.
He set nowcht by thare mane [C. mayne] a myte
Brus vi. 318 (C).
Sen thair chiftane Wes of sic hert and of sic mane [E. mayn] That [etc.]
c1475 Wall. xi. 145.
The King him plessed in all his gudly mane [: agayn]
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3269.
Tholome that was a man of mane [: agane]
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. iii. lxxvi.
For thay … In just battell war fundin maist of mane [: plane]
a1568 Bann. MS. 242 a/201.
Salamone that king of mane [: plane]
plur. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1184.
Eftir … the slauchtir of the citezanis And taking of thar guddis throu meaynis [C. manys]
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 855.
Hyme falȝet mud and mayne
?1438 Alex. ii. 1424.
Quha hes hart hardy and gude, Strenth him doubilles in mane and mude
Ib. 3950. Ib. 7255.
That Clarus sonnes ar … michty men of mane and mude
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iv. 370.
Allace, allace, now mingis my mane and mude
(3) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 514.
Schir, ye ar in your maieste, your mayne and your myght, Yit [etc.]
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 106.
Ane hed dow nocht on body stand allane Forowt memberis to be of mycht and mane For to wphald the body & the hed

b. To set one's main, mak mekill mayn, to apply one's might, to strive hard (to do something). a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 8.
I wald fayne, & I had cunnyng, set my mayne Sume thing to say of sancte Moryse
c1475 Wall. iv. 684.
Full mekill mayne thai maid To rype the wood

2. (To do something) a. with (gret, mekill) main, with sic ane mane, with great strength and force. b. with (in, be) all (one's) (strenth and) main, main (and micht), with all one's might. c. with (in) mayn(e and mud(e, mud(e and main, mane and micht, id.In some instances, hardly more than a metrical tag. The surviving use, b (1), also occurs in prose.a. 1375 Barb. x. 634.
Thai … thiddir com vith mekill mayne
Ib. xii. 53.
He … With so gret mayn roucht hym ane dynt
Ib. xix. 452. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 242.
For thai had slane Jhesu Criste with mekile mayne
?1438 Alex. ii. 1885.
The Bauderane That the ȝettis had hewit with mane
Ib. i. 1911. Ib. ii. 6987. Ib. 9039.
He rugged to him with sic ane mane And thirled with strenth sa fast That [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4554.b. (1) 1375 Barb. vi. 261.
He … hewit & slew with all his mayn
Ib. ix. 276. a1400 Leg. S. iv. 299.
In al thar mayne [: agane]
a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 706.
Lowit be thu, Magdelayne, That seruit God with al thi mayne
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1410.
And [thai] ageynes hym with all meyne
?1438 Alex. ii. 8569.
Tholomere sik ane rout him raucht With all his mene and all his maucht
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2151.
Than this Makduf with all his mayne Counsalit thaim fast and [etc.]
1456 Hay II. 160/24.
The Sarraȝene … prekit fra him with all his mayn
c1475 Wall. iii. 404. a1500 Seven S. 277. 1513 Doug. iii. x. 24.
Kempand with aris in al our mane
Ib. xii. xiv. 148. 1528 Douglas Corr. 136.
The Kyngis grace … ramuffit bakwarts be al his mane and deligens
1535 Stewart 3911. Ib. 53186.
With all thair mane
15.. Wyf Awcht. 53. 1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 81.
All four thay wald defend it … with micht and all thair mane
1600-1610 Melvill 256.
Then he settes against the sam with all his mean
1591-2 Rob Stene 5.
I cryit owt with all my mane
1638 Adamson Muses Thr. 31.
[They] with all their maine Their braikens buckled to the fight again
(2) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1716.
[They] drew to him with all thair strenth and mane
Ib. 1922.
With all his maine and mycht
c. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxviii. 130.
[To] trew in God with mayne & mud
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 613. ?1438 Alex. ii. 62.
Quhan thay of Grece with mude and mane Sesit in Gaderis the nobill pray
Ib. 374.
He … honored thame with mane and mude
Ib. i. 3244, etc. a1450 Fifteen Ois 190.
O Jesu Crist … Haue mynd of … pane That thou sufferit in mud and mane
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 1918.
[He] With all his mane and all his mude him set Till ettill him ane vther straik
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 964.
Thare ryvarys … mowys noucht wytht mycht na mayne [: rayne] Off nakyn stormys at may fall
?1438 Alex. ii. 588.
With gude hart, mane and micht
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2890.
The dreid of deith … forcit hir defend with micht and mane
1554 Duncan Laideus Test. 169.
Thow me kepit with thy mane and micht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7825.
Than past thay baith bauldlie with mane & micht

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"Main n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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