bi·​ki·​ni | \bə-ˈkē-nē \

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 \

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 \ adjective

Geographical name

Bikinian \bi-​ˈkē-​nē-​ən \ 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

The documents were originally part of a US court case stemming from a lawsuit filed against Facebook by a company called Six4Three, an app developer that used to make an app called Pikinis to help people find Facebook pictures of women in bikinis. Emily Stewart, Vox, "5 takeaways from the UK’s Facebook document dump," 6 Dec. 2018 While you may be curled up on the couch with your laptop resting on your warmest pajama pants, Kourtney did her bargain-hunting poolside in a bikini while getting mom-shamed by dozens of Instagram followers. Marci Robin, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Trolls Shamed Kourtney Kardashian for Her Son’s Long Hair," 26 Nov. 2018 Last summer, the kingdom announced the construction of a luxury resort on the Red Sea where women will be allowed to wear bikinis. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "Saudi women should not have to wear abaya robes, senior cleric says," 11 Feb. 2018 After changing into her bathing suit—an ill-fitting one piece, while most of her peers wear bikinis—Kayla walks through the performative fun with her shoulders hunched. Esther Zuckerman, Marie Claire, "Being an Eighth Grade Girl Sucks—and Sundance's Best Movie Knows It," 25 Jan. 2018 Modeling the moves is Jessica Collazo, a fitness enthusiast with a background in boxing and bikini competitions. Amy Marturana, SELF, "These 4 Butt Exercises Will Fully Work Your Glutes," 12 Oct. 2018 The day that Affleck headed to rehab, Sexton was snapped on the beaches of Malibu rocking an olive-green bikini and enjoying a relaxing a day in the sun. Fox News, "Ben Affleck's rumored gal pal Shauna Sexton reportedly visits star upon his return to rehab," 2 Oct. 2018 Levy compares what’s happening in the injectable market now to other beauty treatments like bikini waxing. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The push to make Botox as common as getting a blowout," 12 Sep. 2018 Jenner walked right into the waves in a teeny-tiny green bikini from Sommer Swim. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner's Sommer Swim Green Bikini Is Surprisingly Affordable," 4 Sep. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near bikini






bikini wax


Statistics for bikini

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for bikini

The first known use of bikini was in 1947

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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

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