by main force


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Related to by main force: water main, force majeure

by main force

By sheer force or physical strength. I couldn't get my car out of the mud until my brothers came along and moved it by main force.
See also: force, main

by main force

through sheer strength.
Main derives from the Old English word mægen meaning ‘physical force’. As an adjective meaning ‘(of strength or force) exerted to the full’, it is a very ancient usage: mægenstrengo occurs in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.
See also: force, main
References in classic literature ?
The first man they laid hold of was an English seaman, a stout, strong fellow, who having a musket in his hand, never offered to fire it, but laid it down in the boat, like a fool, as I thought; but he understood his business better than I could teach him, for he grappled the Pagan, and dragged him by main force out of their boat into ours, where, taking him by the ears, he beat his head so against the boat's gunnel that the fellow died in his hands.
I turned it toward me, with my own hands, by main force.
Mr Willet, in his frenzy, was so near keeping his word to the very letter (Solomon Daisy's eyes already beginning to roll in an alarming manner, and certain guttural sounds, as of a choking man, to issue from his throat), that the two bystanders, recovering in some degree, plucked him off his victim by main force, and placed the little clerk of Chigwell in a chair.
He completed her affliction by putting a five-dollar bill into her pocket by main force, looking both indignant and resolute as he said
And truly, they were as sturdy and bluff a pair of boots as one would wish to see; as firmly planted on the ground as if their owner's legs and feet had been in them; and seeming, with their broad soles and blunt toes, to hold possession of their place by main force.
female guests into hysterics by generally behaving like a (musk) elephant, the noble beast was captured by main force and carried (quatre pattes dans l'air) by six sailors, which relieved India of his distinguished presence.