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

Ball culture didn't go mainstream, and many of the people in the scene died long before something like Pose could ever see the light of day. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "Beyond Madonna: A More Colorful Picture of Queer History," 11 June 2019 Then Visage countered the claim, just a bit, by saying that mainstream might not be the most appropriate term. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Michelle Visage on the "Magical" Future of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," 7 June 2019 As more teens get their own iPhones and a rising number of schools crack down on social media, AirDrop culture has gone mainstream—and more adults are getting caught in the crossfire. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Why Teens Are AirDropping Memes to Strangers," 5 June 2019 Sailing goes mainstream LightSail 2 is intended to help resolve the technical problems and turn light sails into a reliable, low-cost, zero-propellant way of getting around in space. NBC News, "Spacecraft that sail on sunshine could be the next big thing in spaceflight," 3 June 2019 In his mind, the story has never been what Russia has been doing, but the way the political mainstream has reacted to Russia. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Glenn Greenwald Tells Russians Liberals Are Blaming Them As Excuse for Clinton," 9 July 2018 The biggest thing that is now mainstream is our CROWNS. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "How 'Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable' Shirt Designer Nareasha Willis Fights Cultural Appropriation," 15 May 2018 But there are signs that the groundswell of hard-leftism is having an effect on more mainstream, national candidates. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Socialism rises in Democratic Party as primary season of upsets comes to close," 18 Sep. 2018 While Chicano Batman are on the cusp of mainstream, other brands are keen to highlight local music scenes as a way to add cultural relevance to their marketing. Jessica Lipsky, Billboard, "LAMC: Brands, Film & TV Increasingly Looking Beyond Mainstream Latin Artists," 13 July 2018

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

14 Jun 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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showing courage and determination

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