main·​land | \ ˈmān-ˌland , -lənd\

Definition of mainland

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a continent or the main part of a continent as distinguished from an offshore island or sometimes from a cape or peninsula


geographical name
Main·​land | \ ˈmān-ˌland , -lənd\

Definition of Mainland (Entry 2 of 2)

1 honshu
2 island in northern Scotland; largest of the Orkney Islands
3 island in northern Scotland; largest of the Shetland Islands

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Other Words from mainland


mainlander \ -​ˌlan-​dər , -​lən-​ \ noun

Synonyms for mainland

Synonyms: Noun

continent, landmass, main

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Examples of mainland in a Sentence


the boat back to the mainland leaves once every two days

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One way for Taiwan to prevent invasion is to hold targets on the mainland at risk. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Taiwan is Reverse-Engineering Fighter Jet Engines To Power a Cruise Missile," 3 Jan. 2019 The surprising find links the ring builders to the wider network of trade and cultural exchange on the mainland. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Find shows 4,000-year-old trade routes stretched from Carolinas to Great Lakes," 31 July 2018 Yet the island stations have endured, even as criminal investigations, broad cost-cutting measures, and staff realignments continue to batter the State Police back on the mainland. Todd Wallack,, "For some State Police, it’s a posting in paradise," 14 July 2018 The mayor said a local businessman used connections on the mainland to ship generators to Yabucoa. Arelis R. Hernandez And Joel Achenbach,, "Failure of imagination hindered federal response to hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico," 14 July 2018 Ten months later, nearly 1,000 households in Puerto Rico still lack power, according to the New York Times, while thousands of islanders who took shelter on the mainland have been unable to return. Laignee Barron, Time, "FEMA Says It Was Significantly Unprepared When Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico," 13 July 2018 Nelson and Democratic members of the Florida Legislature said officials have told them the island remains too devastated to take back evacuees who remain on the mainland. Washington Post, "Housing extended for 1,700 Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees," 1 July 2018 Rachel was raised by a single mother who emigrated from mainland China to New York City, a far cry from the gilded, glitzy world Nick that brings her into. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians is a dazzling, sumptuous success," 18 Aug. 2018 Wu Yibing, who at the United States Open last year became the first boy from mainland China to win a Grand Slam junior title in singles, recently began working with Sven Groeneveld, Maria Sharapova’s former coach from the Netherlands. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "Years After Retiring, Li Na Wields Major Influence in Tennis," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mainland.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mainland


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for mainland

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for mainland

The first known use of mainland was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of mainland

: a large area of land that forms a country or a continent and that does not include islands


main·​land | \ ˈmān-ˌland \

Kids Definition of mainland

: a continent or the largest part of a continent as distinguished from an offshore island or islands

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Comments on mainland

What made you want to look up mainland? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

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