bi·​lin·​gual | \ (ˌ)bī-ˈliŋ-gwəl How to pronounce bilingual (audio) also -gyə-wəl \

Definition of bilingual

1 : having or expressed in two languages a bilingual document an officially bilingual nation
2 : using or able to use two languages especially with equal fluency bilingual in English and Japanese
3 : of or relating to bilingual education

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Other Words from bilingual

bilingual noun
bilingually adverb

Examples of bilingual in a Sentence

Several of the employees are bilingual. He is bilingual in English and Japanese. She grew up in a bilingual community. The town has an excellent bilingual education program.
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Recent Examples on the Web Guests found their seats thanks to bilingual escort cards by Written Word Calligraphy and Design, which also designed the menus that boasted black vellum illustrated with loose florals. Shira Savada, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Maui Wedding Was All About Fashion, Family—and Engagement Photo Shoots in Two Countries," 12 Nov. 2020 To help people navigate these obstacles, AAAJ established a six-language helpline and equipped polling places in Asian communities with bilingual staff and translated resources. NBC News, "Asian Americans more likely to use absentee ballots — and be rejected in Calif.," 28 Oct. 2020 Sarah Pamperin, 33, is a bilingual teacher in Green Bay, Wis., working with Spanish-speaking sixth-grade students at a Green Bay area public school. Emma Goldberg, New York Times, "What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in 2020 America," 5 Oct. 2020 Vincere's bilingual medical staff use the Sofia SARS Antigen FIA test. Raphael Romero Ruiz, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix takes free COVID-19 testing on the road with van that offers results in 15 minutes," 28 Sep. 2020 Even where there’s no bilingual staff, detention staff is supposed to be able to use telephone language lines, but that’s either not used or not actually very effective in terms of providing care sufficient for informed consent. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Troubling State of Medical Care in ICE Detention," 25 Sep. 2020 The board approved a new job description for a bilingual school and community resource liaison. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "How they voted, Aug. 23," 23 Aug. 2020 So why does being bilingual have any effect at all? Martha Shade, CNN, "Bilingualism is good medicine for the brain," 23 Oct. 2020 Language immersion is designed to help students become bilingual by surrounding them with opportunities to read, write, hear and speak a new language. Mara Klecker, Star Tribune, "Language immersion teachers work to replicate bilingual experience online for Minnesota students," 22 Oct. 2020

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

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bilingual

Latin bilinguis, from bi- + lingua tongue — more at tongue

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Time Traveler for bilingual

Time Traveler

The first known use of bilingual was in 1819

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Statistics for bilingual

Last Updated

16 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bilingual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for bilingual


How to pronounce bilingual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bilingual

: able to speak and understand two languages
: using or expressed in two languages


bi·​lin·​gual | \ ˌbī-ˈliŋ-gwəl How to pronounce bilingual (audio) , -gyə-wəl \

Kids Definition of bilingual

1 : using or expressed in two languages a bilingual dictionary
2 : able to speak two languages

More from Merriam-Webster on bilingual

Nglish: Translation of bilingual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bilingual for Arabic Speakers

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