bi·​ki·​ni | \ bə-ˈkē-nē How to pronounce bikini (audio) \

Definition of bikini

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a woman's scanty two-piece bathing suit
b : a man's brief swimsuit
2 : a man's or woman's low-cut briefs


geographical name
Bi·​ki·​ni | \ bi-ˈkē-nē How to pronounce Bikini (audio) \

Definition of Bikini (Entry 2 of 2)

island (atoll) of the Marshall Islands

Note: Bikini was the site of U.S. atomic bomb tests in 1946 and hydrogen bomb tests in 1954 and 1956.

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Other Words from bikini


bikinied or less commonly bikini'd \ bə-​ˈkē-​nēd How to pronounce bikini'd (audio) \ adjective

Geographical name

Bikinian \ bi-​ˈkē-​nē-​ən How to pronounce Bikinian (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

In July 1946, a US Army–Navy task force detonated two thermonuclear bombs at Bikini, an atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and the event dominated news around the world. A French designer, Jacques Heim, used the occasion to introduce a skimpy two-piece bathing suit dubbed l’atome, “the atom.” Another designer, Louis Réard, followed it up with an even smaller suit for which he registered the name bikini. It was first modeled by dancer Micheline Bernardini at a Paris fashion show on July 5. There is no solid evidence for why he gave this name to the suit, but it has since become an international word.

Examples of bikini in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are four categories that increase by muscle mass: bikini, figure, physique and bodybuilding. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "From anorexia to bodybuilding champion, this Arden Hills woman learned to love herself," 28 Dec. 2019 Hatcher, who turned 55 on December 8, looks strong and lean in her bikini., "Teri Hatcher Just Posted a Bikini Pic and Shared Why She Doesn't Mind Aging: "Being in This 55-Year-Old Body Actually Feels Liberating"," 11 Dec. 2019 But then there are games like Lorne Lanning's Oddworld series—games that don't lead with muscle- or bikini-clad heroes and defy easy categorization. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Oddworld solved its narrative problems with mind control," 3 Dec. 2019 Pippa, whose mom Carole was also along for the trip, showed off her abs in a white bikini with a playful polka-dot design. Jen Juneau,, "Pippa Middleton Looks Stunning in a Bikini During Christmas Vacation with Family in St. Barts," 26 Dec. 2019 In other words: Instead of bikinis or evening gowns, the focus is on interviews and social impact initiatives. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "‘Miss America can be a scientist’: Camille Schrier of Virginia wins after onstage chemistry experiment," 20 Dec. 2019 Williams, 38, shared a few different shots of herself in a super-cute blue bikini recently on her Instagram. Christina Oehler,, "Serena Williams’s Abs Are On Full Display In This Bikini Video," 12 Dec. 2019 From hitting the beach in a skimpy bikini alongside fellow model Bella Hadid, to dressing like an actual Barbie doll, Jenner's Florida-style has been nothing short of superb. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner's Nude Minidress Looks Like It's Dripping in Tinsel," 7 Dec. 2019 Six4Three, long since defunct, basically operated an unmemorable app that scraped Facebook looking for pictures of women in bikinis. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Massive Facebook document leak gives ammunition to investigators," 7 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bikini.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bikini


1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bikini


French, from Bikini, atoll of the Marshall Islands

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Time Traveler for bikini

Time Traveler

The first known use of bikini was in 1947

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Statistics for bikini

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bikini.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for bikini


How to pronounce Bikini (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bikini

: a piece of clothing in two parts that a girl or woman wears for swimming or for lying in the sun and that does not cover much of the body

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More from Merriam-Webster on bikini

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bikini

Spanish Central: Translation of bikini

Nglish: Translation of bikini for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about bikini

Comments on bikini

What made you want to look up bikini? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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