[meyn-land, -luh nd]
See more synonyms for mainland on
  1. the principal land of a country, region, etc., as distinguished from adjacent islands or a peninsula: the mainland of Greece.
  2. (in Hawaii) the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.

Origin of mainland

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at main1, land


[meyn-land, -luh nd]
  1. the largest of the Shetland Islands. About 200 sq. mi. (520 sq. km).
  2. Pomona(def 3). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mainland

continent, beach

Examples from the Web for mainland

Contemporary Examples of mainland

Historical Examples of mainland

British Dictionary definitions for mainland


  1. the main part of a land mass as opposed to an island or peninsula
  2. the mainland a particular landmass as viewed from a nearby island with which it has close links, such as Great Britain as viewed from Northern Ireland or continental Australia as viewed from Tasmania
Derived Formsmainlander, noun


  1. an island off N Scotland: the largest of the Shetland Islands. Chief town: Lerwick. Pop: 17 550 (2001). Area: about 583 sq km (225 sq miles)
  2. Also called: Pomona an island off N Scotland: the largest of the Orkney Islands. Chief town: Kirkwall. Pop: 15 315 (2001). Area: 492 sq km (190 sq miles)
  3. the Mainland NZ a South Islanders' name for South Island
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

Word Origin and History for mainland

c.1400, from main (adj.) + land (n.). Usually referring to continuous bodies of land and not islands or peninsulas. Related: Mainlander.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper