main·​land | \ ˈmān-ˌland How to pronounce mainland (audio) , -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 How to pronounce Mainland (audio) , -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 \ ˈmān-​ˌlan-​dər How to pronounce Mainland (audio) , -​lən-​ \ noun

Synonyms for mainland

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of mainland in a Sentence

Noun the boat back to the mainland leaves once every two days
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many new users from mainland China had talked about topics including Xinjiang detention camps, Taiwan independence and Hong Kong’s National Security Law that would normally be swiftly censored on Chinese social media. NBC News, "Frustration, worry, but little surprise as Clubhouse app is blocked in China," 9 Feb. 2021 The 28 former officials and their immediate family members would be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. Steven Jiang And Ben Westcott, CNN, "Beijing sanctions high-ranking Trump administration officials after Biden takes office," 20 Jan. 2021 The sanctions forbid the people listed and their families from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "China slaps sanctions on Pompeo, Bannon, and other former Trump officials," 20 Jan. 2021 Exports of Swiss watches to mainland China, for example, increased 17% between January and November last year, while the other top 20 markets for watchmakers saw a decline during the period, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Jane Li, Quartz, "China’s economy grew in 2020, but only the rich are “revenge spending”," 18 Jan. 2021 The struggle began a year ago as the coronavirus descended upon mainland China. Hanna Krueger,, "Beloved restaurant Peach Farm used to be open until 3 a.m. — now it struggles to stay open at all," 15 Jan. 2021 The announcement of 14 new Latter-day Saint temples, including the first such edifices in the United Arab Emirates (also the first in the Middle East), mainland China, Kiribati and Vanuatu. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This week in Mormon Land: Funding to help the homeless; prisoners get own district; women urge Trump’s removal," 14 Jan. 2021 In mainland China, by contrast, the hardware of the Great Firewall — as Beijing’s system of filters and blocks is known — actively severs connections. New York Times, "A Hong Kong Website Gets Blocked, Raising Censorship Fears," 9 Jan. 2021 After welcoming generations of refugees from mainland China over the last century, Hong Kong is now seeing some of its own residents flee for asylum abroad. David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, "Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested in one of China’s biggest crackdowns," 5 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for mainland

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mainland.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for mainland



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 How to pronounce mainland (audio) \

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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