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

The model wore the Peony bikini which features a Melon Soft Balconette top. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner's Latest Instagrams Are Giving Us Serious Bikini Envy," 27 May 2019 The in-demand sandals added a dose of cool to Jenner’s laid-back look that included unzipped white baggy pants with a light blue print bikini. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Flaunts Chanel’s Must-Have Pool Slides in Cannes," 24 May 2019 Designed to fight odors, absorb liquid and prevent leaks, THINX Air will be available in the brand’s signature black and ocean colors and comes in both their classic high waist and bikini styles. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "THINX Is Launching Quick Drying Period Proof Underwear," 22 May 2019 This infamous male bikini is blinding in a way that could only be compared to staring directly into the sun. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Denim Speedo Bathing Suits Exist and We Don't Know How to Feel," 16 May 2019 Her most popular videos by far are about vaginal lightening, which involves using a specialized treatment to lighten the vulva or general bikini area. E.j. Dickson, Vox, "The dangerous rise of vaginal lightening," 6 Dec. 2018 Embodying the former, Alessandra Ambrosio stepped out in the beachside town today looking like an off-duty screen siren in a nearly all-white ensemble comprised of a Jacquemus top, worn open to reveal a black bikini, and flared white trousers. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Alessandra Ambrosio’s French Girl Hair Trick Is Worth Stealing for Summer," 14 May 2019 There are also bikinis and tankinis, among other bathing suit styles, on sale. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Macy's Is Having a Huge Sale on Jewelry, Clothes, and Home — Just in Time for Mother's Day," 30 Apr. 2019 Now signs clearly indicate bikini zones, and check-in procedures include briefings on cultural sensitivities. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "Maldives, a Destination for the 1%, Chases the Backpacker Buck," 10 Feb. 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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Dictionary Entries near bikini






bikini wax


Statistics for bikini

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

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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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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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