The tattooed lady, sword swallower, and frog man are some of the people you might meet at a sideshow, a smaller show that's part of a carnival or circus. A sideshow is also something that distracts from a main event.

The first sideshows happened at the Barnum & Bailey Circus, from the idea that some performers would be better viewed up close, instead of in a large tent. The popularity of sideshows grew through the first half of the 20th century. Attractions ranged from so-called "freaks" like the contortionists to tricks like sword swallowing and fire breathing. Today sideshow is often used for something that takes attention away from what's really important.

Definitions of sideshow

n a minor show that is part of a larger one (as at the circus)

Type of:
the act of publicly exhibiting or entertaining

n a subordinate incident of little importance relative to the main event

“instruction is not an educational sideshow
Type of:
a single distinct event

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