main·​stream | \ˈmān-ˌstrēm \

Definition of mainstream 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence


main·​stream | \ˈmān-ˈstrēm \
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

After the release of her best-selling debut album, Let Go, in 2002, Avril quickly went from Emo It Girl to mainstream superstar. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "Avril Lavigne Called the Doppelgänger Conspiracy Theory About Her Death "So Weird"," 2 Nov. 2018 To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Here's What Barack Obama Is Doing Now," 16 July 2018 But some mainstream biologists and neuroscientists are critical of the results. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 In Brazil most of the revelations from Lava Jato have been given to mainstream newspapers by prosecutors. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 There’s a growing medical movement — not mainstream yet – that advocates treating diabetes with a ketogenic diet. Sandy Bauers,, "Good fats, bad fats, and why the ketogenic diet matters," 13 July 2018 In June, the House of Representatives passed the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 6082), which will bring addiction treatment into the mainstream medical system and align privacy regulations with HIPPA. Melissa Stein, STAT, "Privacy laws are hurting the care of patients with addiction," 13 July 2018 The pieces will swing from light classical to mainstream-movie fare, and more. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra continue summer tour tradition," 12 July 2018 And by giving the game an ever-so-slight story, Nintendo and developer Camelot Software are also combating some of the fatigue of mainstream games. Todd Martens,, "'Mario Tennis Aces' and the love of low-stakes competition," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Military men and women were coming home with new tattoos after time spent at war or at sea, mainstreaming tattoos like never before. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Throwing your skin into the wind: Houston tattoo shop plays with fate and a tattoo dartboard," 3 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

13 Dec 2018

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

: 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 \

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

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a nest or breeding place

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