- the principal or dominant course, tendency, or trend: the mainstream of American culture.
- a river having tributaries.
- regular school classes or regular schools: keeping autistic students in the mainstream.
- belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style, etc.: mainstream Republicans; a mainstream artist; mainstream media.
- of, relating to, or characteristic of jazz falling historically between Dixieland and modern jazz; specifically, swing music.Compare traditional(def 4).
verb (used with object)
- to send into the mainstream; cause to join the main force, group, etc.: to mainstream young people into the labor force.
- to place (students with disabilities) in regular school classes.
verb (used without object)
- to join or be placed in the mainstream.
- the main current (of a river, cultural trend, etc)in the mainstream of modern literature
- (as modifier)mainstream politics
- of or relating to the style of jazz that lies between the traditional and the modern
n.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. The prevailing current or direction of a movement or influence: “The candidate’s speech represented the mainstream thinking on economic policy.”