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

Definition of bikini

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a two-piece bathing suit worn by women that does not cover the midriff — see also string bikini, tankini
b : a short snug swimsuit worn by men
2 : a pair of low-cut briefs (see brief entry 2 sense 4) Launched in May, the underwear brand for men and women includes bikinis, … G-strings and boxer briefs.— Phyllis Furman … ultra low-rise jeans with a built-in bikini or thong.Sunday Tribune (South Africa) often used before another noun Bikini briefs are usually lower than the true waist, often at the hips.— Clifford Pugh


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 (audio) \ adjective

Geographical name

Bikinian \ bi-​ˈkē-​nē-​ən How to pronounce Bikini (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 Her next look consisted of a sultry black bikini top with a pair of leopard cover pants, complemented with inches of long flowing hair. Essence, 12 July 2021 In the first photo, Hadid glows in the sun, wearing a green checkerboard bikini top. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, 11 June 2021 While distressed cut-offs feel just right slipped on with a bikini top for a day at the beach. Madeline Fass, Vogue, 10 June 2021 Other style highlights include a red-and-black denim set from Levi’s recent collaboration with Miu Miu, as well as a cow-print bikini top worn with a clashing cow-print jacket and baggy cargo pants. Eliza Huber,, 5 June 2021 Pulling up the rear of the costume parade is Luann, not in blackface but wearing nude leggings, a bikini top, a macrame coverall, and about three statement necklaces at once. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 11 May 2021 After Emily shared a pic of her sporting an itsy-bitsy pink bikini, Cam commented with the eye emojis (to be fair, several of her castmates commented on the pic, below, as well). The Editors, Marie Claire, 2 July 2021 April Love Geary is showing off her bikini body six months after welcoming her third child. Georgia Slater,, 2 July 2021 Or the 2017 ads for Budweiser's Lime A Rita — its first product ever marketed explicitly to women — in which ladies sit around joking about their bikini waxes? Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2021

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


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Statistics for bikini

Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bikini.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for bikini



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

More from Merriam-Webster on bikini

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


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