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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
1840-50, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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
  • A library of trivia, museum of curiosa, sideshow of freaks, and shrine of greatness.

    The Short Life Francis Donovan
  • We had a minstrel sideshow in the afternoon, and a regler theater for a sideshow in the evenin'.

    Nasby in Exile David R. Locke
  • But suppose we hurry along and inspect this panorama they talk so much of; it isn't going to be any sideshow.

  • "Biting off live chickens' heads, in a sideshow wild-man act," Hideyoshi O'Leary supplied.

    Uller Uprising Henry Beam Piper, John D. Clark and John F. Carr
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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