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

This happy discovery marks the first time in more than 50 years that eastern quolls have been born in the wild on mainland Australia. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Endangered Eastern Quolls Are Born on Mainland Australia for the First Time in 50 Years," 10 July 2018 Clooney has a home on the Italian mainland, on Lake Como., "George Clooney released after motorcycle crash in Italy," 10 July 2018 On a federal level, FEMA programs for Puerto Ricans include rent assistance in the mainland or on the island, free housing on the island and funds to rebuild their homes. Nyssa Kruse,, "State Divies Up $600,000 Set Aside For Hurricane Maria, Irma Survivors," 9 July 2018 Many hurricanes that affect the U.S. mainland originate from Western Africa as tropical waves. Joel Langstein, Fox News, "How African dust is subduing US hurricanes," 9 July 2018 In total, there are more Puerto Ricans living in the United States mainland than on the island. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Kamala Harris is coming to Puerto Rico's aid. Will Puerto Ricans in Florida return the favor?," 25 June 2018 In Clark’s 50-plus years on the Coastside, the area has gone from sleepy seaside community to popular weekend destination (complete with a Ritz-Carlton) and a big-wave capital of the mainland. David Ferry,, "Mavericks legend Jeff Clark’s favorite spots in Half Moon Bay," 10 July 2018 The Shanghai Composite Index, made up of many of the mainland’s biggest companies, logged a 21-month closing low Friday and has fallen four straight weeks, the longest losing streak since December. Kevin Kingsbury, WSJ, "Trade Worries Pervade Asia Markets," 18 June 2018 While the Pacific War reached its crescendo with talk of an invasion of the Japanese mainland, the dropping of two atomic bombs and the subsequent surrender, Hansen did not hear much while on Okinawa. Justin Kenny, Post-Tribune, "Memories of Okinawa still fresh for Huntertown WWII veteran," 18 May 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

24 Sep 2018

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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).


an open space surrounded by woods

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