main·​stream | \ ˈmān-ˌstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio) \

Definition of mainstream

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence



Definition of mainstream (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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


main·​stream | \ ˈmān-ˈstrēm How to pronounce mainstream (audio) \
mainstreamed; mainstreaming; mainstreams

Definition of mainstream (Entry 3 of 3)

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 But pretty much all songs played on mainstream radio receive this aural facelift. Matt Wake |, al, "Secrets behind 38 Special hits, what band learned from Ronnie Van Zant," 14 May 2021 In recent years, works of fiction grappling with a hefty dose of environmental degradation and climate change have hit the mainstream. Anna Funk, Smithsonian Magazine, "Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can’t?," 14 May 2021 Quite often many mainstream processors, especially those created for the autos, medical monitoring equipment, and a multitude of other products are created using much larger nodes in what is called the trailing edge. Tim Bajarin, Forbes, "Why Trailing Edge Semiconductor Manufacturing Matters," 13 May 2021 Recent optimism about Israeli Arabs moving toward social and political integration with the mainstream now looks dubious. Zev Chafets, Star Tribune, "Israelis thought they were safer," 13 May 2021 And somehow my agent sold the book — not to a mainstream house but to a smallish press that was able to give me enough money to actually live for a little bit of time. E. Alex Jung, Vulture, "In Conversation: Alison Bechdel," 12 May 2021 Most of the protagonists are Black women, a rarity in the relatively whitewashed realm of mainstream romance writing. Ayana Mathis, The Atlantic, "Stacey Abrams Writes a Thriller," 11 May 2021 The origins of our language are being steadily erased, quickly stolen, and co-opted for mainstream comedy. Asia Ewart,, "SNL Is Accused Of Cultural Appropriation In A Sketch About Gen Z Slang," 11 May 2021 What does an 11th-gen Core mainstream gaming notebook include? Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel launches 11th-gen Tiger Lake-H CPUs for gaming notebooks," 11 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some kind of limit on fossil fuel production needs to make its way to mainstream national political debate, and fast. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "A New Study Shows Why Fracking Has to Stop," 27 Apr. 2021 On the other hand, most watches have a circular watch face, with Motorola’s Moto 360 line having made round smartwatches mainstream back when Google was actually competing in the business. Chris Smith, BGR, "Pixel Watch revealed: Google’s Apple Watch rival has finally leaked," 9 Apr. 2021 In fact, our messaging helped mainstream the concept that pursuing social good was also good for the bottom line. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Putting the Grift in ESG," 20 Mar. 2021 The newsletter provided no details on distinctions between language that leads to physical violence and that which is healthy skepticism to mainstream views. Jessica Melugin, Fortune, "Don’t put Big Tech or big government in charge of the truth," 25 Mar. 2021 Its eight-figure sale represents the latest height in a mounting frenzy for NFTs, a type of digital media built on the blockchain that has catapulted to mainstream attention—and demand—over the past two months. Abram Brown, Forbes, "Beeple Art Sells For $69.3 Million, Becoming Most-Expensive NFT Ever," 11 Mar. 2021 In the past two weeks, digital non-fungible tokens have grown from a niche interest to mainstream million-dollar sales. Micah Singleton, Billboard, "NFTs Are Booming and the Music Biz Desperately Wants In," 11 Mar. 2021 Led by a Black and Latino cast, the film artfully brings Shakespeare to mainstream audiences without being too earnest. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Sundance: 'R#J' explores what would happen if Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' chatted on Instagram," 31 Jan. 2021 His call to mainstream the fuel’s use was joined by other Oklahomans like Aubrey McClendon, who had founded Chesapeake Energy with Tom Ward in 1989. USA Today, "Biden’s administration could affect Oklahoma’s energy industry in surprising ways," 18 Jan. 2021

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


1955, 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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Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mainstream.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on mainstream

Nglish: Translation of mainstream for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mainstream for Arabic Speakers

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