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

And this concerted right-wing attempt to disrupt the mainstream media. Eric Johnson, Vox, "Journalist Carole Cadwalladr has a question for tech workers: Are you okay with your bosses enabling “techno-fascism?”," 8 July 2019 Cannabis news is a category unto itself, with publications including Marijuana Business Daily, Cannabis Wire, Marijuana Moment, and Hemp Industry Daily covering the business in addition to the mainstream media. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "So you want to keep up with the CBD boom?," 25 June 2019 Uprising has seen a surge in recent years, and the first mainstream media reports about Stonewall used different language entirely. Time, "Was Stonewall a Riot, an Uprising or a Rebellion?," 24 June 2019 The opposition faced an uneven playing field throughout both mayoral campaigns, with Mr. Erdogan maintaining control over the mainstream news media and blatantly using government and municipal resources to support his candidate. New York Times, "Turkey’s President Suffers Stinging Defeat in Istanbul Election Redo," 23 June 2019 Yet the mainstream media largely failed to adequately cover the protests. Chad Painter, The Conversation, "How the New York media covered the Stonewall riots," 19 June 2019 Garretson’s observations could apply to Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten, whose smiling faces appear regularly in mainstream media, sometimes even together to proudly offer a once-illicit kiss. Charles Dunst, The New Republic, "No, the Buttigiegs Are Not Straight," 18 June 2019 The possibilities with some sort of VR goggles (such as Microsoft’s HoloLens) are intriguing, but until those become mainstream, smartphone apps will be the most visible example of the tech trend. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Pokémon Go-style game for Harry Potter fans released a day early," 21 June 2019 Widespread celebrations have become mainstream in baseball, especially after home runs, and not every pitcher likes them. John Shea,, "Giants lose 9-8 after Bumgarner knocked out by Muncy’s Dodgers," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The series, now in its eleventh season and on VH1, took what had been a subculture and exploded it, minting drag-queen stars, mainstreaming idioms, remaking Ru into a kind of self-help guru—and winning nine Emmys along the way. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "How the World Fell Head Over Heels for RuPaul," 15 Apr. 2019 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

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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Learn More about mainstream

Dictionary Entries near mainstream

main squeeze


main stem


Main Street



Statistics for mainstream

Last Updated

12 Jul 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

Comments on mainstream

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characterized by aphorism

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