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Würzburg Löwenbrücke.jpg
The Main in Würzburg.
Origin Upper Franconia
50°5′11″N 11°23′54″E / 50.08639°N 11.39833°E / 50.08639; 11.39833
Mouth Rhine
49°59′40″N 8°17′36″E / 49.99444°N 8.29333°E / 49.99444; 8.29333Coordinates: 49°59′40″N 8°17′36″E / 49.99444°N 8.29333°E / 49.99444; 8.29333
Basin countries Germany
Length 529 km (329 mi)
Avg. discharge 200 m3/s (7,100 cu ft/s) at mouth
Basin area 27,292 km2 (10,538 sq mi)
Map showing the position of the Main in Germany

The Main (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɪn]) is a river in Germany, 524 km (329 miles) long (including White Main, 574 km (357 mi)), and it is one of the more significant tributaries of the Rhine. The Main flows through the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg (forming the border with Bavaria for some distance) and Hesse. Its watershed competes with the Danube for water; as a result, many of its boundaries are identical with those of the European Watershed. The Main begins near Kulmbach at the joining of its two headstreams, the Red Main (Roter Main) and the White Main (Weißer Main). The Red Main rises in the Frankish Alb, 50 km (30 mi) in length, and runs through Creussen and Bayreuth. The White Main rises in the mountains of the Fichtelgebirge; it is 41 km (25 mi) long. Major tributaries of the Main are the Regnitz, the Fränkische Saale, the Tauber, and the Nidda.

The name derives from the Latin Moenus or Menus, and is not related to the name of the city Mainz (Latin Moguntiacum).


The Main is navigable for shipping from its mouth at the Rhine close to Mainz for 396 km to Bamberg. Since 1992, the Main has been connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the highly regulated Altmühl river. The river has been canalized with 34 large locks (300 m × 12 m (980 ft × 39 ft)) to allow CEMT class V (110 m × 11.45 m (360 ft × 38 ft)) vessels to navigate the total length of the river. The 16 locks in the adjacent Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the Danube itself are of the same dimensions.

Ports and municipalities

Around Frankfurt are several large inland ports. Because the river is rather narrow on many of the upper reaches, navigation with larger vessels and push convoys requires great skill.

The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg. The Main also passes the following towns and cities: Burgkunstadt, Lichtenfels, Bad Staffelstein, Eltmann, Haßfurt, Schweinfurt, Volkach, Kitzingen, Marktbreit, Ochsenfurt, Karlstadt, Gemünden, Lohr, Marktheidenfeld, Wertheim, Miltenberg, Obernburg, Aschaffenburg, Seligenstadt, Hainburg, Hanau, Offenbach, Hattersheim, Flörsheim, and Rüsselsheim.

The river has gained enormous importance as a vital part of European "Corridor VII", the inland waterway link from the North Sea to the Black Sea.[1]


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MAIN (from the Aryan root which appears in " may. " and " might," and Lat. magnus, great), a word meaning properly power or strength, especially physical. This use chiefly survives in the expression " with might and main." The word is more common as a substantival elliptical use of the adjective, which usually has the sense of principal or chief in size, strength, importance, &c. Thus " the main," the high open sea, is for " main sea," cf. " mainland," the principal part of a territory excluding islands and sometimes far-projecting peninsulas. The expression " the Spanish main " properly meant that part of the main land of the N.E. coast of South America stretching from the Orinoco to the Isthmus of Panama, and the former Spanish possessions in Central America bordering on the Caribbean Sea, but it is often loosely used, especially in connexion with the buccaneers, of the Caribbean Sea itself. The term " main " is also thus used of a principal pipe or cable for conducting gas, water, electricity, &c. The elliptical use does not appear, however, in such expressions as main road, line, stream. Another use of the word " main " has a somewhat obscure history. It appears as a term in the game of hazard, and also in cock-fighting. In the last it is used for a match, and for the cocks engaged in a match. In hazard it is the number called by the " caster " before the dice are thrown; this may be any number from five to nine inclusive. The usual derivation is from the French main, a hand, but according to the New English Dictionary there is no evidence for this, and the more probable explanation is that it is an adaptation of " main " meaning principal or chief. From this use of the word in hazard the expression " main chance is derived. " Main," a shortened form of domain or demesne, only now survives in Scotland, usually in the plural " mains " for a home farm.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also main, and mäin



Proper noun




  1. A river in southern Germany, flowing from Bavaria to the Rhine.


See also


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|The Main in the centre of Frankfurt]] The Main (pronounced in German like the English word mine) is a river in Germany, 524 km in length, and one of the bigger tributaries of the Rhine river. Its average discharge at Frankfurt East Harbour is 190 cubic metres/second. It flows through the Bundesländer (states) of Bavaria, Hesse and 25 Kilometers along the border of Bavaria with Baden-Württemberg. The biggest city on the Main is Frankfurt, others are Bayreuth, Bamberg, Würzburg, Hanau and Offenbach. The mid Main valley is characterised by many vineyards. It is part of the region of Franken.

File:Fluss Main in
Main in Germany

The name of the river has nothing to do with the English word main, which means most important, or the french word main, which means hand. The river was named Mogin by the ancient celts after their god Mogon. Later, the Romans called the river Moenus in their language. In the Middle Ages, this name became Meyn and later Main.

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