side·​show | \ ˈsīd-ˌshō How to pronounce sideshow (audio) \

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 Democrats call the reviews ridiculous attempts to amplify baseless suspicions and say Wisconsin is in danger of turning into Arizona, where a monthslong review of ballots has turned into a political sideshow. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 Aug. 2021 The other group treats the need for digital transformation as a sideshow of the status quo. Steve Denning, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 But Afghanistan was always a sideshow under Bush, even though the invasion was conducted in conjunction with NATO. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 12 Aug. 2021 But this Bahamas gambit, which Treasury believed to involve only a half-dozen or so taxpayers, was just a sideshow in the larger circus that the department was staging for lawmakers. Joseph Thorndike, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Simultaneously, police monitored a sideshow of more than 300 cars and 200 spectators roaming across the city. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 July 2021 The business of selling trucks and cargo vans to landscapers, contractors and other commercial buyers operating work fleets has traditionally been a sideshow in the auto industry. Mike Colias, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2021 The Black radicals of his day the Judge dismissed as a sideshow. New York Times, 14 July 2021 Sea’s gaming division, called Garena, may seem like something of a sideshow in this contest. Simon Willis, Fortune, 29 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for sideshow

Time Traveler

The first known use of sideshow was in 1846

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Dictionary Entries Near sideshow

side shot


side shuffle

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Statistics for sideshow

Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sideshow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce sideshow (audio) \

Kids Definition of sideshow

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sideshow

Nglish: Translation of sideshow for Spanish Speakers

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


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