main vs. mane

What is the difference between main and mane?

The words main and mane are both pronounced the same way (/meɪn/), but they have very different meanings.
The more common of the two, main, has a wide range of definitions, but it’s most often used to mean “chief, principal, or most important,” as in:
  • “The main reason the product failed was a lack of consistent advertising.”
  • “She will be your main contact moving forward.”
The word mane is a noun, and it has a much more specific meaning: “the long hair on the head and sides of the neck on certain mammals, such as horses, giraffes, or male lions.” By extension, it can be used to describe long, thick hair on a person’s head. For example:
  • “He ran his fingers through the horse’s mane as they trotted through the countryside.”
  • “The actor’s fans were shocked when he cut off his trademark mane for a movie role.”
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