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

Definition of mainstream

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence



Definition of mainstream (Entry 2 of 3)

: having, reflecting, or being compatible with the prevailing attitudes and values of a society or group mainstream media movies that appeal to a mainstream audience mainstream success


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

Definition of mainstream (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Verb 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 Many critics saw the video as a crass attempt by Bauchner to save his job, and emblematic of the way mainstream medicine highlights the work of Black scholars only when convenient. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, "Troubling podcast puts JAMA, the ‘voice of medicine,’ under fire for its mishandling of race," 9 Apr. 2021 For too long, the mainstream accepted movie canon — as defined by studio heads, film organizations, curators and critics — has been overwhelmingly white and male., "The Film Canon Looks Mostly Male & Very White. These Critics Are Trying To Change That.," 7 Apr. 2021 All eyes have been on AMD's Ryzen 5000 series mainstream desktop CPUs since launch, with Intel struggling to keep up, even with the recent release of its 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPUs. Antony Leather, Forbes, "AMD Zen 3 Threadripper 5000 Leak Indicates August 2021 Launch," 6 Apr. 2021 And what took me in that direction had a lot to do with the fact that at that point, the industry was completely controlled by the mainstream. David Fear, Rolling Stone, "The Last Word: Robert Redford on Activism, Fighting Climate Change, and the Importance of Truth," 6 Apr. 2021 The council’s launch comes as prices of many digital assets have surged, drawing in new mainstream investors and the banks and brokers that serve them. Justin Baer, WSJ, "Fidelity, Square, Coinbase Launch Bitcoin Trade Group," 6 Apr. 2021 The company never managed to land a true mainstream hit, and in a world where most people opt for the reliable nature of Apple, Samsung, or Xiaomi phones, LG is finally striking out. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Android loses a huge innovator as LG quits making phones," 5 Apr. 2021 Once dismissed as a fringe, counterculture vice, psychedelics are rapidly approaching acceptance in mainstream medicine. Mandy Oaklander, Time, "Inside Ibogaine, One of the Most Promising and Perilous Psychedelics for Addiction," 5 Apr. 2021 The opposition is rooted in a mix of religious faith and a longstanding wariness of mainstream science, and it is fueled by broader cultural distrust of institutions and gravitation to online conspiracy theories. New York Times, "How White Evangelicals’ Vaccine Refusal Could Prolong the Pandemic," 5 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The newsletter provided no details on distinctions between language that leads to physical violence and that which is healthy skepticism to mainstream views. Jessica Melugin, Fortune, "Don’t put Big Tech or big government in charge of the truth," 25 Mar. 2021 Its eight-figure sale represents the latest height in a mounting frenzy for NFTs, a type of digital media built on the blockchain that has catapulted to mainstream attention—and demand—over the past two months. Abram Brown, Forbes, "Beeple Art Sells For $69.3 Million, Becoming Most-Expensive NFT Ever," 11 Mar. 2021 In the past two weeks, digital non-fungible tokens have grown from a niche interest to mainstream million-dollar sales. Micah Singleton, Billboard, "NFTs Are Booming and the Music Biz Desperately Wants In," 11 Mar. 2021 Led by a Black and Latino cast, the film artfully brings Shakespeare to mainstream audiences without being too earnest. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Sundance: 'R#J' explores what would happen if Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' chatted on Instagram," 31 Jan. 2021 His call to mainstream the fuel’s use was joined by other Oklahomans like Aubrey McClendon, who had founded Chesapeake Energy with Tom Ward in 1989. USA Today, "Biden’s administration could affect Oklahoma’s energy industry in surprising ways," 18 Jan. 2021 Buoyed by the pandemic, 2020 was undoubtedly the year that telehealth turned the corner to mainstream. Mario Aguilar, STAT, "What comes after the telehealth boom? Hybrid care models draw investor interest," 14 Jan. 2021 So begins the war of the voices, to see which platform—if any—can rise to mainstream status and shape the future of social networking. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "The Future of Social Media Is All Talk," 16 Dec. 2020 Serratos spent months learning the idiosyncrasies of the singer who broke barriers for Mexican-American artists and brought Latinx music to mainstream charts in the early ’90s before her untimely death in 1995, days before her 24th birthday. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "Speaking Selena," 12 Nov. 2020

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


1599, in the meaning defined above


1955, in the meaning defined above


1974, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for mainstream

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The first known use of mainstream was in 1599

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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mainstream.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on mainstream

Nglish: Translation of mainstream for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mainstream for Arabic Speakers

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