side·​show ˈsīd-ˌshō How to pronounce sideshow (audio)
: a minor show offered in addition to a main exhibition (as of a circus)
: an incidental diversion or spectacle

Example Sentences

Their disagreement is just a political sideshow when compared to the real issues at hand.
Recent Examples on the Web Investors may be quick to dismiss this threat as a political sideshow. Matt Egan, CNN, 9 Jan. 2023 But many Peruvians seem to view the country’s ongoing political drama as a sideshow that has little to do with the needs of its citizens. Los Angeles Times, 11 Dec. 2022 The Wall of Death originated as a sideshow in either San Francisco or Coney Island around 1915. Allie Conti Desiree Rios, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2022 Whether that music can be more than another momentary sideshow may be a bigger question than simply what happens in the studio. Ben Sisario, New York Times, 26 Oct. 2022 While officers were at 42nd and Foothill, another sideshow broke out nearby at 42nd and International Boulevard. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Oct. 2022 The players in this second tier of budget streamers have been around for years but have never gotten anywhere near as much attention as the big guys: They’ve generally been regarded as a sideshow within the much bigger streaming wars. Vulture, 5 May 2022 Daniel Conway’s set is part cross-sectioned ship, part seedy carnival sideshow, with an upper-level bandstand. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2022 But as was clear from the questions fired at Berhalter at every press conference, Qatar itself was always a sideshow. Charlie Campbell, Time, 5 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sideshow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sideshow was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near sideshow

Cite this Entry

“Sideshow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


side·​show -ˌshō How to pronounce sideshow (audio)
: a small show off to the side offered in addition to a main show (as of a circus)

More from Merriam-Webster on sideshow

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