Main, the

from Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats by John Gould

MAIN, THE: The mainland. Early European fishermen found the offshore islands of Maine, and beyond them the main, which explains the state’s name. James Rosier, official scribe for the George Weymouth expedition of 1605, says as much: “Our captaine discovered up a great river trending alongst into the maine about forty miles.” The final e on both captaine and maine is merely olde English orthography. The mainland is still called the main by people on Vinalhaven, Matinicus, Criehaven, and Monhegan, who say, “I’m going to the main tomorrow.” (There is an identical situation in South America, where the term Spanish Main originally meant the mainland of that continent.)