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)

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 mainlander (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 While now based in London, HSBC has deep ties with mainland China, and Hong Kong, an exceptionally profitable banking center, is its largest market by both revenue and profit. ... Jing Yang, WSJ, "HSBC Grapples With Controversy in Hong Kong," 3 Jan. 2020 In Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, around half the mainstream media outlets have close political ties to the mainland, according to the CPJ. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "China Is Threatening Media Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan, CPJ Says," 16 Dec. 2019 For the past six months, Hong Kong has been in a state of civil unrest as citizens demand greater autonomy from mainland China. Rosy Cordero,, "DC Comics pulls controversial image from Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child promo," 1 Dec. 2019 The 182-year-old New York jeweler — which was recently purchased by luxury conglomerate LVMH (LVMHF) — entered the mainland in 2001 and started building out its retail network there about six years later, according to Alessandro Bogliolo. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Chinese shoppers are spending more at home. Tiffany has big plans to cash in," 20 Dec. 2019 The black family included the first identified African child born on the mainland of English America – the first African American. USA Today, "Pam’s family enslaved black people. Wanda believes her ancestor was one of them. They met, and are confronting a painful history," 17 Dec. 2019 Although her daughter liked Hong Kong, Ah Ying preferred the mainland. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Hong Kong’s Protest Movement and the Fight for the City’s Soul," 9 Dec. 2019 After the storm, thousands of Puerto Ricans departed the island for the U.S. mainland, exacerbating a problem that Rullán has long tried to remedy through the nonprofit she co-founded, ConPRmetidos. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "‘Come Visit Us, Help Us’: Why Tourists Are Vital to Puerto Rico’s Recovery After Hurricane Maria," 27 Nov. 2019 Now, obviously the mainland is not helping the process here. CBS News, "Transcript: Chris Johnson talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 6 Nov. 2019

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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mainland.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for mainland


How to pronounce Mainland (audio)

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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Comments on mainland

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