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

bilateralism

play \-t(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm\ noun

bilaterally

adverb

Recent Examples of bilateral from the Web

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.

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.

First Known Use of bilateral

1751


BILATERAL Defined for English Language Learners

bilateral

adjective

Definition of bilateral for English Language Learners

  • : involving two groups or countries


Medical Dictionary

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

bilateralism

play \-ˌiz-əm\ noun

bilaterality

play \(ˈ)bī-ˌlat-ə-ˈral-ət-ē, -ˌla-ˈtral-\ noun plural -ties

bilaterally

play \(ˈ)bī-ˈlat-ə-rə-lē, -ˈla-trə-lē\ adverb

Law Dictionary

bilateral

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

legal Definition of bilateral

:affecting, obligating, or shared by both parties

bilaterally

\-rə-lē\ adverb

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