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 To Foster, the deal was just another example of his pragmatism: Duke had turned the previous governor’s race into an international sideshow; getting him out of the race allowed for what Foster saw as a real debate about Louisiana’s future. Clancy Dubos,, "The politics of pragmatism: remembering Mike Foster," 8 Oct. 2020 As a result, Van Halen has become a band of four instead of a sideshow of one. The Enquirer, "From the archives: Van Halen rocked Cincinnati Gardens," 7 Oct. 2020 On Wednesday, Pence steps fully into the spotlight with the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, turning what would have been a sideshow into the week’s big political event. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Pence steps onto center stage with Trump hospitalized in the wings," 5 Oct. 2020 But that doesn’t mean the program is a science fiction sideshow today. Quanta Magazine, "Building the Mathematical Library of the Future," 1 Oct. 2020 And while attacking Hunter Biden’s ethical failures infuriates his father, it’s a sideshow. Karl Rove, WSJ, "This Was the Debate From Hell," 30 Sep. 2020 Police were unable to confirm whether there was a connection between the shooting and the sideshow. Cynthia Dizikes,, "One dead, two seriously wounded in early morning shooting in SF Excelsior district," 7 Sep. 2020 Officers discovered the victims just after midnight while responding to reports of a sideshow in the area. Cynthia Dizikes,, "One dead, two seriously wounded in early morning shooting in SF Excelsior district," 7 Sep. 2020 Another argument for ditching the quadrennial sideshow? Emily Heil, Washington Post, "The traditional presidential cookie contest is off — but many ‘first lady recipes’ have long been bogus," 1 Sep. 2020

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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Statistics for sideshow

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sideshow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for sideshow


How to pronounce sideshow (audio)

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)

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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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