From the end of World War II, following major cultural and social changes brought by mass media innovations, the meaning of popular culture began to overlap with those of mass culture, media culture, image culture, consumer culture, and culture for mass consumption.Although terms "pop" and "popular" are in some cases used interchangeably, and their meaning partially overlap, the term "pop" is narrower.Pop is specific of something containing qualities of mass appeal, while "popular" refers to what has gained popularity, regardless of its style.

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Popular culture or pop culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century.

Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society.

The most common pop culture categories are: entertainment (movies, music, TV), sports, news (as in people/places in news), politics, fashion/clothes, technology, and slang.

Popular culture is often viewed as being trivial and "dumbed down" in order to find consensual acceptance throughout the mainstream.

As a result, it comes under heavy criticism from various non-mainstream sources (most notably religious groups and countercultural groups) which deem it superficial, consumerist, sensationalist, and/or corrupt.

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