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[sahyd-shoh] /ˈsaɪdˌʃoʊ/
a minor show or exhibition in connection with a principal one, as at a circus.
any subordinate event or matter.
Origin of sideshow
An Americanism dating back to 1840-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sideshow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I haven't had a better one since I went to the sideshow at the circus.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I have wondered sometimes if it were a seat in a sideshow which she had designed for me.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • A library of trivia, museum of curiosa, sideshow of freaks, and shrine of greatness.

    The Short Life Francis Donovan
  • The sideshow got a dime of hers before the big show started and again after it ended.

    Back Home Irvin S. Cobb
  • It was all like a county fair of Iowa, only more dignified, with no touch of sideshow.

    The Spell of Scotland

    Keith Clark
British Dictionary definitions for sideshow


a small show or entertainment offered in conjunction with a larger attraction, as at a circus or fair
a subordinate event or incident
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sideshow

also side-show, 1855, "minor exhibition alongside or near a principal one," apparently a coinage of P.T. Barnum's, from side (adj.) + show (n.). Hence, any diversion or distracting event.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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