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 mainlander (audio) , -​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

The employee, Simon Cheng, disappeared Aug. 8 during a business trip to Shenzhen, a mainland Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, according to his family and his girlfriend. Steven Lee Myers,, "In Hong Kong protests, tear gas and violence end a period of calm," 24 Aug. 2019 Shortly after sunrise on Friday, the small rescue posse organized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife boarded a boat and sailed the half mile of lake water that separated the mainland from Hillary’s island. Steve Rubenstein,, "Rescue comes at long last for Hillary the donkey," 23 Aug. 2019 Simon Cheng was detained by Chinese authorities after traveling to the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen, two weeks ago. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "UK consular worker who was detained in China is now back in Hong Kong, say family," 23 Aug. 2019 In 2012 hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers protested against an attempt to impose mainland-Chinese style patriotic education in the school curriculum. The Economist, "On Hong Kong, China should retreat to advance," 22 Aug. 2019 As my colleague George Avalos writes, the annual count of passengers coming and going from SJC has hit nearly 15 million, thanks in large part to the facility adding more nonstop connections outside the United States mainland. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Map: With more destinations added at SJC, traffic is soaring," 20 Aug. 2019 In 2017, the Hoopers sold their home in Katy, Texas, and have been traveling the U.S. mainland and Canada in an RV. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Anchorage Daily News, "'Way too close’: Kayakers encounter calving glacier in Southcentral Alaska," 20 Aug. 2019 On Thursday, Southwest Airlines announced new flights to Hawaii, with a fare sale featuring tickets as low as $99 one-way from the mainland and $29 one-way for inter-island flights. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Southwest's New Flights to Hawaii Are Now on Sale—And Start at $99," 15 Aug. 2019 However, in mainland Europe there are plenty of leagues that still have time to chop and change their squads, and, as a sneak preview, some Premier League stars may very well still leave these shores., "Transfer Rumours: Chelsea Duo Wanted, Serie A Sides Chasing Llorente, Balotelli Makes Move & More," 14 Aug. 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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Statistics for mainland

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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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 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

What made you want to look up mainland? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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