Nearby words

  1. mains,
  2. mainsail,
  3. mainsheet,
  4. mainspring,
  5. mainstay,
  6. mainstream corporation tax,
  7. mainstreamer,
  8. mainstreaming,
  9. mainstreeting,
  10. maintain

Origin of mainstream

First recorded in 1660–70; main1 + stream Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mainstream

British Dictionary definitions for mainstream


/ (ˈmeɪnˌstriːm) /


  1. the main current (of a river, cultural trend, etc)in the mainstream of modern literature
  2. (as modifier)mainstream politics


of or relating to the style of jazz that lies between the traditional and the modern
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 mainstream



also main-stream, main stream, "principal current of a river," 1660s, from main (adj.) + stream (n.); hence, "prevailing direction in opinion, popular taste, etc.," a figurative use first attested in Carlyle (1831). Mainstream media attested by 1980 in language of U.S. leftists critical of coverage of national affairs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for mainstream


The prevailing current or direction of a movement or influence: “The candidate's speech represented the mainstream thinking on economic policy.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.