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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
The early 2000s saw the rise of the Black Country Music Association, but the genre still lacked a significant, sustained mainstream presence of Black artists. Marcus K. Dowling, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 This was the first mainstream show centered entirely around climate. Melissa Jun Rowley, Rolling Stone, 22 Feb. 2024 This is in contrast with mainstream automakers, who typically overhaul vehicle models every six to seven years. Trefis Team, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Currently, the most widely available electric vehicles options are luxury brands, while mainstream consumers have more limited options. Alex Leeds Matthews, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 Japanese authorities and mainstream media have long been reluctant to investigate abuse claims within the entertainment industry. Patrick Frater, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 This year’s musical emphasis deliberately shifts away from mainstream headliners, although Beck, Weezer and The Roots are all veteran acts who have enjoyed broader commercial success. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2024 Later work sits uneasily between high and low registers, conceptual installation and mainstream media intervention. Emily Labarge, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Netflix’s version expands the story to an international cast and takes liberties to adapt the dense and physics-heavy novel for a mainstream audience. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Feb. 2024
He’s also collaborated with everyone from mainstream country artists Dierks Bentley and Luke Combs to R&B artist RMR and rock band Fences. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 23 Feb. 2024 Before the vehicles become more mainstream, for example, their availability and the proximity to charging infrastructure affects whether consumers buy them. Alex Leeds Matthews, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 Now, to my chagrin, his obsession has become mainstream. Yasmin Tayag, The Atlantic, 20 Feb. 2024 Psychedelics are becoming so mainstream that the Department of Veterans Affairs is examining the use of MDMA — also known as ecstasy — and psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, to fight post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 How mainstream the court will become for the NBA is still to be determined. The Indianapolis Star, 15 Feb. 2024 As the music became mainstream, its origins in Black culture and creativity were erased, Royster said. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 15 Feb. 2024 Even as vector databases and Retrieval-Augmented Generation models become mainstream, offering innovative ways to handle and process data, traditional ETL processes retain their importance in the data management ecosystem. Janakiram Msv, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 The videos are a departure from traditional personal finance coverage in mainstream media outlets. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 5 Feb. 2024
This system, although not mainstream in the United States, makes for much longer-lasting carts and fewer wobbly wheels. Eva Rothenberg, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 Prisoners launched director Denis Villeneuve to mainstream prominence, offering a tricky mystery that grows increasingly intense as the characters’ beliefs and morals are pushed to their limits. Danny Horn,, 4 Jan. 2024 Now, Ezra has announced a fresh $21 million in venture funding to take full-body scans mainstream. Rashi Shrivastava, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 The pair started dating sometime around 2017 before Lil Durk rose to mainstream fame with notable collaborations. Kaitlin Stevens, Peoplemag, 3 Feb. 2024 Going from off-Broadway productions to mainstream success in a comic book film was a polarizing topic for some in his circle, namely, for his father, Franklin D'Olier Reeve. Marisa Sullivan, Peoplemag, 23 Jan. 2024 Apple’s low-key approach to the Vision Pro also speaks to the challenges associated with selling a device that could still be years away from appealing to mainstream consumers. Tripp Mickle, New York Times, 19 Jan. 2024 Why retail’s $100 billion ‘shrink’ crisis may not be all about shoplifting The anti-DEI movement has gone from fringe to mainstream. Richard Torrenzano, Fortune, 18 Jan. 2024 It has been boosted not only by online far-right influencers but also mainstream right-wing figures like Tucker Carlson, who pushed the great replacement theory hundreds of times on his former Fox News show. David Gilbert, WIRED, 7 Dec. 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 1 Mar. 2024.

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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