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 Without one, passengers arriving from the mainland would have to strictly quarantine for 14 days, a policy in place since March that has scared away most tourists and decimated Hawaii's tourism industry. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Scratch that August trip to Hawaii. The state just extended its quarantine until Sept. 1," 14 July 2020 But the establishment has struggled to balance Beijing’s desire for control with residents’ demands to preserve the autonomy that has shielded them from the mainland’s feared security services and opaque, often harsh legal system. Keith Bradsher,, "In seizing control, China sidelines its allies in Hong Kong," 27 June 2020 Pickering, who moved to Maui from the mainland in 2017, has had to lay off her 19 employees. Jen Murphy, Condé Nast Traveler, "When Travel Restarts, Hawaiians Are Hoping for a More Respectful Future," 18 June 2020 Zoom reviewed the meetings' metadata—from the U.S.—and confirmed from IP addresses that several participants would be calling from China's mainland. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "Zoom’s censorship stumble is a familiar narrative for tech stuck between U.S. and Beijing," 12 June 2020 Book a daytrip to Klein Curacao, a tiny uninhabited island boasting the longest, whitest stretch of beach, accessible via a two-hour boat tour from the mainland. Essence, "Get Lost: 72 Hours in Curacao," 11 June 2020 Though the measure has since been withdrawn, protests have reignited in recent weeks amid China’s effort to push through national security legislation that’s raised concerns about the financial hub’s future autonomy from the mainland. K Oanh Ha,, "Protests Erupt in Central Hong Kong on Movement’s Anniversary," 9 June 2020 Nearly the size of Texas, and split off from the African mainland some 180 million years ago, this Indian Ocean island is a world apart. Katie Knorovsky, National Geographic, "Madagascar’s tourism drought could fuel another crisis," 20 May 2020 Yan had an extensive network of professional contacts in various medical facilities in mainland China, having grown up and completed much of her studies there. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "EXCLUSIVE: Chinese virologist accuses Beijing of coronavirus cover-up, flees Hong Kong: 'I know how they treat whistleblowers'," 11 July 2020

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

29 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mainland.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 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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