Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In a forceful manner.
  • adv. At full speed; in great haste.
  • adv. Out of control.
  • v. To lower the topsail, in token of surrender; to yield.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. With might; with full force; vigorously; violently; exceedingly.
  • adv. At full speed; in great haste; also, at once.
  • intransitive v. To lower the topsail, in token of surrender; to yield.
  • transitive v. To lower, as a sail, a yard, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • With force, strength, or violence; violently; furiously; suddenly; at full speed; hastily.
  • To lead; conduct; manage.
  • To lower (a sail), especially the topsail.
  • To lower; abate.
  • To lower the topsail or one's flag, in token of yielding; yield; surrender.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. with all your strength
  • adv. at full speed; with great haste

Etymologies

a- +‎ main (“strength, power, force”) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • His bloodhounds twain he called amain, and straightway gave her chase;

    Rookwood

  • Failure to amain, that is, to douse your topsail or dip your colours when you meet with a ship of war -- the marine equivalent for raising one's hat -- constituted a gross contempt of the king's service.

    The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore

  • Queen Pansie, as she might fairly have been styled, in reference to her position in the household, -- calling amain for grandpapa and breakfast.

    The Dolliver Romance

  • A sound as though a cork from a bottle burst amain!

    Peer Gynt

  • By Glyn Davies, at Fri May 23, 10:37:00 PM glyn you are so right to get involved with this . its a disgrace that its not become amain issue for the regulaters. allpower to your elbow on it

    Campaigning in Residential Homes

  • Cleave fast to her thou lovest and let the envious rail amain, iv.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Then the hosts charged down upon each other and clashed together the twain with a mighty strain, the brave pressed on amain and the coward to fly was fain and the Jinn cast flames of fire from their mouths, whilst the smoke of them rose up to the confines of the sky and the two armies appeared and disappeared.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Then they farewelled him and went down to look after the safety of their troops; and they ceased not to keep up the fires till the morning rose with its sheen and shone, when the fighting-men mounted their horses of noble strain and smote one another with thin-edged skean and with brawn of bill they thrust amain nor did they cease that day battle to darraign.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Then they slept till daybreak, when the battle-drums beat to fight and the swords in baldric were dight; and war-cries were cried amain and all mounted their horses of generous strain and drew out into the field, filling every wide place and hill and plain.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • As soon as dawned the day, the two hosts mounted and drew up in battle array and beat their drums amain and drave their steeds of swiftest strain; and they filled the whole earthly plain; and the champions to come out were fain.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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  • "Amain, at once, suddenly; as, let go amain! i.e. let it run at once. This phrase is generally applied to any thing that is hoisted or lowered by a tackle, or complication of pullies.

    "To lower amain, to lower at once, or let go the fall of the tackle.
    To strike amain, to lower or let fall the topsail.
    To wave amain, to make a sign to another vessel by waving a bright sword, or something else as a demand for striking its topsails."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 9

    October 13, 2008