side·​show | \ˈsīd-ˌshō \

Definition of sideshow 

1 : a minor show offered in addition to a main exhibition (as of a circus)

2 : an incidental diversion or spectacle

Examples of sideshow in a Sentence

Their disagreement is just a political sideshow when compared to the real issues at hand.

Recent Examples on the Web

But for all these companies not named Apple, hardware remains a sideshow to much larger and much-more-profitable core businesses. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Why Big Tech Keeps Trying Its Hand at Hardware," 19 Oct. 2018 This whole affair just reeks of a circus and a media sideshow. Fox News, "Rosenstein pushes back against New York Times report," 21 Sep. 2018 The Elephant Man Hillbarn Theatre presents Bernard Pomerance’s Tony-winning play about a horribly deformed young man who goes from traveling sideshow to London high society but is still denied his ultimate dream — to become a man like any other. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Theater capsule reviews and listings, week of March 25," 22 Mar. 2018 This Marchand sideshow is an embarrassment for everyone. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Brad Marchand's repeat licking is making a mockery of the NHL playoffs," 5 May 2018 Because these Olympics are tinged with a unique element - the dance between the host country and its traditionally hostile neighbor to the north - the first night of South Korea's national sport produced some fascinating sideshows. Barry Svrluga,, "The Olympics have just begun, but bigger storylines are starting to emerge," 10 Feb. 2018 You: bars, stores, streets, buildings, people, sideshows, fashion, slang. Boots Riley, HWD, "Sorry to Bother You Director Boots Riley Takes a Ride Through Oakland’s Changing Landscape," 2 July 2018 The Carnival of Curiosity & Chaos will perform circus and sideshow arts at 6:45 and 8:45 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bastille Days is back Thursday, but the geography's shifted due to streetcar testing," 10 July 2018 Mattia Perin was introduced to the media for the first time since joining Juventus from Genoa last month, but inevitably his unveiling was just a sideshow to a much bigger breaking story in Turin., "Mattia Perin Hails 'Huge Bonus' of Cristiano Ronaldo Arrival at Juventus Unveiling," 11 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of sideshow

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sideshow

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for sideshow

The first known use of sideshow was in 1846

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More Definitions for sideshow



English Language Learners Definition of sideshow

: a smaller show that is performed in addition to a main show

: an activity or event that is less important than the main activity or event


side·​show | \ˈsīd-ˌshō \

Kids Definition of sideshow

: a small show off to the side of a main show or exhibition (as of a circus)

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More from Merriam-Webster on sideshow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sideshow

Spanish Central: Translation of sideshow

Nglish: Translation of sideshow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sideshow for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sideshow

Comments on sideshow

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to make faulty or ineffective

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