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

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 Besides, she and I were cut from the same cloth — ambitious, New York-y, insecure, interested in straddling both the mainstream and the underground, and always striving for attention. Michael Musto, Longreads, "The Danger of Befriending Celebrities," 12 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg argued that Sanders is too divisive and holds positions that are outside the mainstream and allow for zero compromise. Author: Matt Viser, Sean Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, "Candidates refocus attacks on Trump as New Hampshire primary looms," 11 Feb. 2020 Unsurprisingly, some of Sundance 2020's best movies combined the old and the new, and the mainstream and the arty. TheWeek, "reckons with the streaming revolution," 7 Feb. 2020 Like much of his campaign agenda, Biden’s tax plan calls for moving in the same progressive direction as the party’s left-leaning mainstream, only not quite as far. John Wildermuth,, "President Joe Biden: Here’s what it would mean for California," 30 Jan. 2020 The film’s artistry opens new paths that the industry at large, both mainstream and independent, thought best to leave unpursued. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Still Astonishing “Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.”," 24 Jan. 2020 This has been refuted point-blank by the chief of the fire service in New South Wales, but the misinformation campaign continues in both mainstream and social media. Time, "Australia’s Bushfires Show the Wicked, Self-Destructive Idiocy of Climate Denialism Must Stop," 17 Jan. 2020 The awards, voted on by about 260 entertainment journalists — many of whom identify as members of the LGBTQ community — from the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, recognize the best in mainstream and international film and television. Kimberly Nordyke, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Parasite' Tops Dorian Awards With 5 Wins," 8 Jan. 2020 One such statement, representative of Trump’s critics within the Democratic mainstream, came from Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA analyst who now serves as a freshman in the House Democratic caucus, representing Michigan’s 8th district. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Democrats’ Gutless Response to Trump’s Airstrike," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But can mainstream acceptance risk boxing in this historic part of LGBTQ+ culture, limiting music from drag performers to the realm of 'dancefloor fierceness'? Eleanor Forrest, Billboard, "What Drag Queen Music Collaborator GESS Thinks About the Genre's Future," 6 Feb. 2020 McCarthy, along with actors like Jim McCarthy and Alicia Silverstone, the rapper Kevin Gates, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has boosted the anti-science movement by helping spread it’s rhetoric to the public at large, mainstreaming it in the process. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "How Did The Anti-Vaxx Movement Reach The ‘Love And Hip Hop’ Crowd?," 28 Jan. 2020 But what about those acts who mainstream international success eluded? Matt Wilkinson, Billboard, "The 10 Best U.K. Albums of the 2010s You Might Have Missed," 6 Dec. 2019 Perhaps the most profound shift is in the way that mainstream America talks about gender. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "What Has Changed Since “Transparent” Débuted, in 2014," 27 Sep. 2019 Such data would seem to strengthen the argument made by Jewish community activists who say Belgium is a trouble spot where a lax attitude by authorities is helping to mainstream anti-Semitism. Cnaan Liphshiz,, "Belgian parade that mocked Jews gives up its UNESCO endorsement," 4 Dec. 2019 But O’Rourke seems to be getting closer to mainstream Democratic and activist territory now, rather than carving out a new position entirely. NBC News, "O’Rourke clarifies position on churches and same-sex marriage as 2020 rivals weigh in," 15 Oct. 2019 The attack comes amid a spike in hate crimes directed at immigrants that researchers and experts on extremism say is tied to mainstream political rhetoric. Washington Post, "Family says suspect in acid attack is veteran, suffered PTSD," 5 Nov. 2019 The attack comes amid a spike in hate crimes directed at immigrants that researchers and experts on extremism say is tied to mainstream political rhetoric., "The attack comes amid a spike in hate crimes directed at immigrants that researchers and experts on extremism say is tied to mainstream political rhetoric.," 5 Nov. 2019

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


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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Statistics for mainstream

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mainstream.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for mainstream


How to pronounce mainstream (audio)

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

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