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 Was the handle comfortable to hold, particularly when shaving in different directions for areas like the underarms and the bikini line? Deanna Pai, CNN Underscored, "The best women's razors of 2020," 26 June 2020 In the photo, the mom of one is squatting in a lime green thong bikini and platform heels while also holding a blue Birkin bag. Georgia Slater,, "Cardi B Shows Off Her Revamped Peacock Hip Tattoo After 'Hours of Pain'," 16 June 2020 American Eagle is having a sale up to 60% off cheeky bikini bottoms, men’s trunks and everything else plus free shipping on orders over $50. oregonlive, "This summer’s must-buy swimwear is here and everyone’s having sales," 17 June 2020 Several hours after posting the initial video, Cardi unveiled the tattoo in its entirety in a bikini pic. Georgia Slater,, "Cardi B Shows Off Her Revamped Peacock Hip Tattoo After 'Hours of Pain'," 16 June 2020 My armpits are picked clean and my bikini line looks like it’s been waxed. Ludmila Leiva,, "My Gender, My Body Hair, & Me," 15 June 2020 Then, there’s an abundance of crocheted tops, bikinis, shorts, and vests. Eliza Huber,, "Every Single Fashion Moment In “Watermelon Sugar”," 18 May 2020 Hundreds of people wearing bikinis, swim trunks, sunglasses and for the first time, mandatory face coverings swarmed the area Saturday morning. azcentral, "Arizona reopening: Everyday movement no longer limited as state moves into weekend," 16 May 2020 Instead there’s a chapter on the meaning of navy, as well as her own feelings about pubic hair and wearing bikinis, even with a body that isn’t airbrushed. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "André Leon Talley’s Tales from the Dark Side," 14 May 2020

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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bikini.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 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

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