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

Since then, sleep has become a popular topic in modern science, hotly debated by philosophers, scientists, and spiritualists over the centuries, though the conversation may not have been as popular in the mainstream. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Is Lucid Dreaming? Your Guide to Exploring Your Subconscious," 18 Sep. 2018 Down to Earth The W-15 is at the other end of Workhorse's spectrum of interests, and it's aimed squarely at the mainstream. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Workhorse brings an electric pickup truck, helicopter to Manhattan," 19 Aug. 2018 Judge Kavanaugh is an extremist far out of touch with the American mainstream,'' said Jonathan Perloe, director of programs and communications at CT Against Gun Violence. Daniela Altimari,, "Democrats Rally Against Brett Kavanaugh Nomination," 13 July 2018 Green has spent a good five years touring the Southeast and has a couple previous EPs under his belt, but In a Truck Right Now, released June 29, represents his introduction to the mainstream. Tom Roland, Billboard, "Ten New Acts Ready to Bolt From Country's Starting Gate In Last Half Of 2018," 3 July 2018 The shift has been bubbling violently just below the mainstream for the better part of this decade. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Streetwear Labels Can’t Stop Winning Fancy Fashion Awards," 7 June 2018 When the final votes were tallied, 20 of them had lost to Republicans representing the mainstream of conservatism. Richard Greene, star-telegram, "Republicans think they have November in the bag. Do they?," 24 May 2018 The show started outside the mainstream but then in time transformed it. Marc Freeman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Seinfeld' Finale at 20: Hidden Tales From the Vault of a Comedian's Bizarro World," 13 May 2018 Kiss came calling around the same time, broadcasting LeGaspi’s signature trapunto stitched leather pieces into the mainstream. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Rick Owens Loves Larry LeGaspi—And You Should Too," 23 Jan. 2019

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

8 Mar 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

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