Definition of sideshow in US English:



  • 1A small show or stall at an exhibition, fair, or circus.

    • ‘The rest of the showground will be packed with funfair rides, sideshows and food stalls, with a live band and bar area.’
    • ‘Canon Harvey paid tribute to the many helpers and said that every year a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes running the stalls, the sideshows and games as well as serving and preparing the teas.’
    • ‘Throughout the day there will be stalls, sideshows, live music, entertainers, competitions and promotions ‘to create a real buzz’ in the town.’
    • ‘There will also be stalls and sideshows in the community village and a time tunnel, which will take you back and forward in time to see the Thames and Thamesmead.’
    • ‘Flea circuses are thought to date back to eighteenth century England and Europe; over the years they became sideshows at fairs and markets where merchants sold their wares.’
    • ‘As well as stalls, sideshows and refreshments the club is planning a Grand Car Boot Sale to draw in the crowds at the bank holiday Monday event.’
    • ‘The High Street was lined with stalls and sideshows, there were competitions and exhibitions and many gardens were open to visitors.’
    • ‘Attractions will include a bungee run, stalls and sideshows, balloon races and competitions, as well as lots of information about diabetes.’
    • ‘There will also be stalls, sideshows, fairground rides, new and vintage car shows and helicopter and balloon trips, and the Cornish Pavilion will showcase products from the county.’
    • ‘Music was supplied by Woodfalls Junior Band and there were dancing displays by the New Forest School of Dancing, falcons, vintage and veteran vehicles, stalls, sideshows and various competitions.’
    • ‘There will also be a funfair, sideshows, stalls and refreshments.’
    • ‘Stalls and sideshows some staffed by helpers in old-fashioned rural dress provided bargains galore, and raffles added to the fun.’
    • ‘Apart from the usual party essentials of food, drink and music, there were all sorts of sideshows and stalls, one of them providing temporary tattoos.’
    • ‘Many of Hamilton's scenarios resemble sideshows at a circus or amusement park, with the action framed by symmetrical drapes.’
    • ‘The procession proved a popular draw for residents, who also enjoyed all the fun of stalls and sideshows, funfair, children's races and displays.’
    • ‘The evening consisted of the usual sideshows and stalls and there were pony rides and competitions for the children.’
    • ‘There was an air of pessimism among organisers when the first heavy shower fell just as villagers started turning up, but the turnout was excellent and the many stalls and sideshows did brisk business.’
    • ‘A horse show and gymkhana, and a fun dog show proved popular, and there were crafts, charity stalls, sideshows and refreshments including a barbecue manned by Wootton Bassett Rotarians.’
    • ‘Visitors said they enjoyed the event, and although numbers thinned quickly later in the afternoon, crowds turned up to enjoy the stalls, sideshows, fairground rides and the main acts in the arena.’
    • ‘Traditional rides, sideshows and stalls will stand side by side with the latest hi-tech, white-knuckle rides.’
    funfair, circus, fair, amusement show, sideshows
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A minor or diverting incident or issue, especially one which distracts attention from something more important.
      ‘asylum seeking in the west is a damaging and distracting sideshow’
      • ‘Elections are about the big issues; they are not about the sideshows, and they are not about the desperate diversions.’
      • ‘What used to be an important event in the City's calendar is now a sideshow.’
      • ‘The media, of course, treats these incidents as an amusing sideshow, a bit of spice in an otherwise bland political soup.’
      • ‘Traditional wisdom has it that mass production relegated craft to an expensive sideshow, a distraction from the real needs to provide affordable products for the masses.’
      • ‘One of the incidental sideshows to the political skirmishes of the week has been the behaviour of the press.’
      • ‘Over a mere five occurrences these transits of Venus had shifted from events of astronomical importance to a sideshow with mere curiosity value.’
      • ‘My personal opinion is that the whole issue's just a sideshow from what's really important.’
      • ‘It is a sideshow, a massively expensive distraction from the main game.’
      • ‘They would do well not to celebrate what may be a minor sideshow while preparations for the main event continue.’
      • ‘It is fascinating, as we draw closer to an election, that the parties seem consumed by sideshows and circuses rather than a focus on the sorts of issues that interest ordinary New Zealanders.’
      • ‘We already know the outcome of the election, give or take, but it is a mere sideshow compared to the importance of the referendum.’