main·​stream | \ ˈmān-ˌstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio) \

Definition of mainstream

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence


main·​stream | \ ˈmān-ˈstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio) \
mainstreamed; mainstreaming; mainstreams

Definition of mainstream (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to place (a student, such as a disabled child) in regular school classes
2 : to incorporate in the mainstream

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Other Words from mainstream


mainstream adjective

Examples of mainstream in a Sentence


The poor should be mainstreamed into the private health-insurance system. Ideas that were once controversial have now become mainstreamed.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The question now is whether the fringes will come become the mainstream and disrupt decades of global norms. Alex Ward, Vox, "“A collapse of the center”: why fringe movements are winning around the world," 29 Oct. 2018 Rousey quickly became a mainstream and pay-per-view draw – and one of the most dominant champions the sport had ever seen. Mmajunkie, USA TODAY, "Ronda Rousey to be inducted into UFC Hall of Fame," 9 June 2018 The division between these two pop-culture exhibition arenas, mainstream and indie/alt, is almost always rigorously enforced, but A24, the adventurous distributor of Ari Aster’s debut feature, is placing its bets across the table. Ty Burr,, "‘Hereditary’ is going to ‘scare the bejesus out of everyone’," 6 June 2018 Then contouring went mainstream and products started arriving at my desk in dark chocolate and ebony shades deep enough to get the effect that many fair-skinned women turn to bronzer for. Jessica Cruel, SELF, "I Found a Bronzer That Actually Shows Up on My Dark Skin," 23 May 2018 There’s already a stark disparity in how conservative media outlets cover the Russia investigation compared to mainstream and liberal news organizations. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Anatomy of a Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory," 22 May 2018 Fringe campus politics has gone mainstream, and identity politics is a core Democratic tenet. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Club for Growth of Identity Politics," 14 Mar. 2019 Earlier gatherings like EmojiCon, now in its third year, have brought emoji conversations to the mainstream. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Academics Gathered to Share Emoji Research, and It Was 🔥," 27 June 2018 The 21st Amendment did bring booze back to the American mainstream, but many cities, towns and counties continue to ban the sale of liquor. Stephanie Schorow,, "What should marijuana opponents do when their cause fails? A lesson from Prohibition," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And as those changes slowly begin to mainstream in the near future, one thing is clear right now: your next co-designer is very likely to be a self-designing machine with a few good ideas of its own. Pam Baker, Ars Technica, "Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine," 6 Dec. 2018 But the fact that, today, fashion companies like Ralph Lauren, Dior and Louis Vuitton (in collaboration with Supreme) make skateboards, too, speaks to just how mainstreamed this once-rebellious sport has become. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Can a Skateboard Be a Work of Art?," 19 Nov. 2018 While facial bars and drop-in meditation studios have mainstreamed much of the self-care industry, one area of wellness remains less understood. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Meet the New Acupuncture Studio That's as Easy (and Affordable) as a Blowout Bar," 6 Nov. 2018 There was the architect of the Trump campaign, Steve Bannon, who spent years mainstreaming white nationalism. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "Let’s stop pretending Trump is just pretending," 30 Oct. 2018 To really mainstream EVs, that’s where the action is. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Your Gadgets' Battery Life Could Be About to Get Much Better," 19 Oct. 2018 The newspaper reported that officials misinformed Cruz about his options after the failure of efforts to mainstream him at Stoneman Douglas. Curt Anderson, The Seattle Times, "Paper faces contempt for story on school shooting suspect," 7 Aug. 2018 Later that fall, the therapist noted that Cruz was going to be mainstreamed full-time beginning in January. Tribune News Service,, "Cruz revealed gory fantasies to his therapists years before the Parkland massacre," 10 Mar. 2018 With the legality no longer posing any sort of ethical barrier, there's no longer a need to wink, and sports gambling probably will be mainstreamed in a way that will be apparent to both gamblers and fans who've never placed a bet in their lives. Rick Maese,, "A safe bet: Legal gambling could change the way we watch, talk and experience sports," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mainstream.' 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 mainstream


circa 1585, in the meaning defined above


1974, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near mainstream

main squeeze


main stem


Main Street



Statistics for mainstream

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mainstream

The first known use of mainstream was circa 1585

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More Definitions for mainstream



English Language Learners Definition of mainstream

chiefly US : to place (a child with special educational needs) in regular school classes
: to cause (someone or something) to be included in or accepted by the group that includes most people


main·​stream | \ ˌmān-ˌstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio) \

Medical Definition of mainstream

: relating to or being tobacco smoke that is drawn (as from a cigarette) directly into the mouth of the smoker and is usually inhaled into the lungs — compare sidestream

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More from Merriam-Webster on mainstream

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mainstream

Spanish Central: Translation of mainstream

Nglish: Translation of mainstream for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mainstream for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mainstream

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


using a distributed computer network

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