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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Models sauntered around on the sand in hot pink low-slung bikinis and figure-flattering black one-piece bathing suits sipping on fresh coconuts. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Model Paloma Elsesser, Director Zoe Cassavetes, and More Head to Jamaica for Prism’s Intimate Resort Retreat," 11 July 2018 Vergara also shared a hilarious present-day picture of her pup wearing a polka dot bikini. Mariah Haas, Fox News, "Sofia Vergara shares bikini photo from the '90s," 7 July 2018 True Thompson back in April 2018, which is one of the reasons fans are enthusiastically applauding her bikini photo. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Khloé Kardashian Says Her Post-Baby Bikini Body Photo Is Thanks to Good Angles," 4 July 2018 Getty Images Unlike her sisters, Kendall Jenner rarely posts bikini photos on Instagram. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner's Yellow Bikini Is So Affordable, It'll Be Your Summer Go-To," 25 June 2018 Tokar took a walk down memory lane recently and shared two bikini photos on Instagram: one of her at 27 and the other at 42, her current age. Blake Bakkila,, "This Woman’s Bikini Transformation Captures Why She Looks and Feels Better at 42 Than She Did at 27," 14 May 2018 On Watch What Happens Live, the couple responded to a viewer who called in to ask about that bikini photo. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "What Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos Thought of Those Instagram Bikini-Shamers," 26 Apr. 2018 On Saturday, Kardashian West posted a photo of herself wearing a bikini while lying on the beach during her recent vacation to Turks and Caicos. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Got Body-Shamed for Her "Popcorn Kernel" Toenails by Internet Trolls," 17 Apr. 2018 In her March 31st post, the social media star shared two bikini photos of herself. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Amelia Gray Opens Up About Having an Eating Disorder," 1 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bikini

Dictionary Entries near bikini






bikini wax


Statistics for bikini

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bikini

The first known use of bikini was in 1947

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!