bilateral

adjective
bi·​lat·​er·​al | \ (ˌ)bī-ˈla-t(ə-)rəl \

Definition of bilateral

1 : affecting reciprocally two nations or parties a bilateral treaty a bilateral trade agreement
2 : having two sides dealing with a bilateral problem

3 biology

a : of, relating to, or affecting the right and left sides of the body or the right and left members of paired organs bilateral nephrectomy
b : having bilateral symmetry

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Other Words from bilateral

bilateralism \ (ˌ)bī-​ˈla-​t(ə-​)rə-​ˌli-​zəm \ noun
bilaterally adverb

Did You Know?

Since the prefix bi- means "two" in Latin, bilateral means essentially "two-sided". In the days when there were two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union regularly engaged in bilateral arms negotiations; such negotiations are much less common today. Sometimes bilateral refers to two sides of the same thing. A bilateral hip replacement, for instance, replaces both hip bones in the same operation. And bilateral symmetry (a term often used by biologists) refers to the fact that, in many organisms (such as humans), the left side is basically the mirror image of the right side.

Examples of bilateral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Dana Rodriguez for Vox There’s something truly wonderful about referring to a procedure as specific as a bilateral mastectomy with a term as blandly ominous as top surgery. Daniel Ortberg, Vox, "The best $6,250 I ever spent: top surgery," 18 Dec. 2018 Traditionally, this meant removing the ovaries and the fallopian tubes (a procedure called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy), which then sends the patient into menopause, Dr. Memarzadeh explains. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "How Your BRCA Status May Impact Your Ovarian Cancer Treatment," 17 Dec. 2018 But there has been a series of setbacks to bilateral ties. Geir Moulson, Fox News, "Turkey's Erdogan heads to Germany on bridge-building visit," 27 Sep. 2018 Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met twice since April, pledging to strengthen bilateral ties. Karthikeyan Sundaram, Bloomberg.com, "Trump's Trade War Pushes China Closer to Old Foe India," 28 June 2018 So when the latest round of Dartmouth dialogue – a nearly 60-year-old effort to boost bilateral ties by building unofficial channels of communication – took place in Washington last week, there was some positive buzz. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Amid growing tensions with Russia, a push for meaningful dialogue," 18 June 2018 India’s bilateral ties with the U.S. are on the upward trajectory. Vinay Kaura, Time, "Strategic Ties Between India and the U.S. Are Growing. But Russia Is a Stumbling Block," 11 June 2018 His father, King Salman, had just ascended to the throne and accepted Mr. Erdogan’s proposal to reset bilateral relationships. Summer Said, WSJ, "Trump to Navigate Tense Turkish-Saudi Rivalry at G-20," 29 Nov. 2018 Troubles in the bilateral relationship go beyond trade. Washington Post, "Analysis: Trade rocks already unstable US-China relations," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bilateral.' 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 bilateral

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for bilateral

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bilateral

The first known use of bilateral was in 1751

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More Definitions for bilateral

bilateral

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of bilateral

: involving two groups or countries

bilateral

adjective
bi·​lat·​er·​al | \ (ˈ)bī-ˈlat-ə-rəl, -ˈla-trəl \

Medical Definition of bilateral

1 : of, relating to, or affecting the right and left sides of the body or the right and left members of paired organs bilateral nephrectomy bilateral tumors of the adrenal glands
2 : having bilateral symmetry

Other Words from bilateral

bilateralism \ -​ˌiz-​əm \ noun
bilaterality \ (ˈ)bī-​ˌlat-​ə-​ˈral-​ət-​ē, -​ˌla-​ˈtral-​ \ noun, plural -ties
bilaterally \ (ˈ)bī-​ˈlat-​ə-​rə-​lē, -​ˈla-​trə-​lē \ adverb

bilateral

adjective
bi·​lat·​er·​al | \ ˌbī-ˈla-tə-rəl \

Legal Definition of bilateral

: affecting, obligating, or shared by both parties

Other Words from bilateral

bilaterally \ -​rə-​lē \ adverb

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