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main·​stream ˈmān-ˌstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio)
: a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence
mainstream adjective


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: 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


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

transitive verb

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

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
Barnes’s 1966 New York show might have marked his triumphant emergence into the artistic mainstream. Adam Bradley, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 But the opportunity to go mainstream was not afforded to all Latin artists. Allie Weintraub, ABC News, 15 Sep. 2023 They got signed to a metal label, Roadrunner Records, as the sole mainstream rock guys. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 But for the industry mainstream, Toronto will be the real stress test. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 Politics Enrique Tarrio, 3 other Proud Boys members convicted of sedition in Jan. 6 riot May 4, 2023 Advertisement Even more troubling is that the Proud Boys have successfully bled into the political mainstream. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 But now, with the explosive popularity of foreign cultures, especially Korean, coupled with the lightning metabolism of digital culture, trends in the U.S. become mainstream at a much faster speed. Soo Youn, NBC News, 6 Sep. 2023 The internet platform also gave Guy access to a mainstream audience off of X, including an advice column for politicians at Politico. James Powel, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2023 Anti-Korean sentiment is pervasive among right-wing political groups and mainstream media, and Japan’s Korean population often gets caught in the middle of conflicts between Japan and North Korea. Takehiko Kambayashi, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Sep. 2023
Payne said that in the 1990s, many Christian groups wanted to get mainstream success. Bob Smietana, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2023 Year by year, songs by Reggaeton artists slowly started creeping up the Billboard charts and soon enough became mainstream pop. Allie Weintraub, ABC News, 15 Sep. 2023 The Associated Press Stylebook, used by most mainstream newspapers, does not have an entry on this in current editions. oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2023 One theory for their resurgence is that the hate became so mainstream that liking Nickelback actually became an act of defiance. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 Functional fragrances go mainstream But beyond aromatherapeutic one-off products, global fragrance companies are now developing entire suites of scents with wellness benefits. Brian Underwood, Women's Health, 4 Sep. 2023 The tone implied that people who had fallen in love with tiny houses had been fooled by an unrealistic fantasy, and had been forced to slink back to a mainstream, normal-size lifestyle. WIRED, 2 Sep. 2023 Lately, however, combat boots have become mainstream. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 25 Aug. 2023 Consistently, he’s put the culture in mainstream eyes with grace and elegance. Daniel Kohn, Spin, 28 Aug. 2023
Tesla has since sold around 4.5 million electric cars, becoming one of the first companies to mainstream electric vehicles and present a viable future for an entirely emissions-less automotive industry. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2023 The Inspiron series, with its simple styling, caters to mainstream users with its blend of performance and affordability. Sascha Brodsky, Popular Mechanics, 25 Aug. 2023 In a rush to mainstream the technology, Silicon Valley companies are pushing these products to millions of users and - for now - often offering them free. Pranshu Verma and Gerrit De Vynck, Anchorage Daily News, 4 June 2023 Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney led the athleisure brand to mainstream mania before abruptly exiting as CEO in 2020. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 18 Aug. 2023 But the changes suggest Tumblr is interested in positioning itself as a stronger competitor to mainstream social networks, particularly for creators who want to share material on the platform. Adi Robertson, The Verge, 10 July 2023 But as a marginal candidate who espouses debunked medical claims, Kennedy and his appearance with Musk could further cement the perception that Twitter actively mainstreams extremism. Brian Fung, CNN, 5 June 2023 The company also offers complimentary scheduled maintenance that bests mainstream rivals such as Toyota. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 1 Aug. 2023 In the last two years, Margiela’s split-toe Tabi went from fringe to mainstream. Tara Gonzalez, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mainstream.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1599, in the meaning defined above


1955, in the meaning defined above


1974, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mainstream was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near mainstream

Cite this Entry

“Mainstream.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the principal current or direction of activity or influence

Medical Definition


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