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

Since 2014, a wave of poke bowl restaurants have inundated the US mainland, with numbers almost doubling between 2014 and 2016, according to Foursquare, a search-and-discovery service. Asia London Palomba, The Christian Science Monitor, "Poke bowl trend combines choice, healthy ingredients," 26 June 2018 But Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), part of May’s parliamentary majority, will not countenance the creation of a border between Northern Ireland and the mainland. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "As clock ticks down, Britain finally reveals its plan for Brexit. What now?," 11 July 2018 When Russian troops entered Crimea in 2014, Sentsov was among many volunteers who brought food and supplies to Ukrainian soldiers blocking the border between mainland Ukraine and then Russian-occupied Crimea. Sabra Ayres,, "Ukrainian film director on hunger strike in a Russian prison casts dark cloud over World Cup," 19 June 2018 In the wake of the hurricane, enrollment dropped as families fled to the US mainland after Maria. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "First Hurricane Maria, now this: a Puerto Rico town mourns the loss of its school," 15 June 2018 Power outages were common, yet prices were well above average rates on the mainland U.S. because of the cost of importing fuel on tankers. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Power Utility CEO Resigns After Less Than Four Months on Job," 11 July 2018 Some analysts think North Korea is trying to drag out talks in hopes that the U.S. will come around to accepting it as a nuclear weapons state, perhaps in a limited form that couldn’t threaten the U.S. mainland directly. Washington Post, "Analysis: Harsh words may mean NKorea seeks deal with Trump," 9 July 2018 But when the ferry arrives from the mainland, who should step onto the dock but Ariel herself — fit as a fiddle and anxious to investigate her own death. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Hate Thy Neighbor. Or Maybe Just Kill Him.," 6 July 2018 And there were some, especially people on the mainland, who were glad for a chance to tell their story to someone who wasn’t there to roll their eyes at them. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Our Planet Still Has Secrets: Talking Tasmanian Tigers with Journalist Brooke Jarvis," 5 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

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for mainland

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

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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 \

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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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