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

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

Since late 2016, Cameroon has faced an increasingly violent uprising in the bilingual country's minority Anglophone regions, where English speakers say they have been marginalized by the French-speaking majority for decades. Siobhán O'grady, Washington Post, "Africa’s next civil war could be in Cameroon," 30 May 2018 After learning that the man was a bilingual master electrician who had managed international projects, Mr. Dockser gave him his business card and invited him to call. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Companies Hire on Potential—If Only They Knew What That Meant," 12 Mar. 2019 Many mastered Mandarin, hired and trained thousands in China, bought houses, met their spouses and raised bilingual children. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned," 7 Dec. 2018 Pichardo’s songs are paired with videos and games as part of a bilingual program to be used by parents and teachers to help students from pre-kindergarten to 7th grade. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Local musician writes inspiring songs for students," 8 July 2018 Spanish-language speakers will find a third-floor clinic called Salud En Español where bilingual primary-care providers will deliver culturally sensitive care. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "As Kaiser shows off new Sacramento medical facility, officials call it good for health of downtown," 3 June 2018 Realtors who are bilingual or multilingual often have the obvious advantage of being able to assist international clients whose native language might not be English. Michelle Sandlin, Houston Chronicle, "On the move: There are advantages when working with multilingual agents," 16 Feb. 2018 More than 4,300 bilingual kindergartens were built or renovated last year, according to the government. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018 Answering questions Manso-Carraquillo is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish fluently; his mother speaks Spanish. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A triple homicide, a son left behind: How a Milwaukee police detective built a trusting bond with a survivor of violence," 6 July 2018

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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Statistics for bilingual

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bilingual

The first known use of bilingual was in 1819

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More Definitions for bilingual



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bilingual

Spanish Central: Translation of bilingual

Nglish: Translation of bilingual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bilingual for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bilingual

What made you want to look up bilingual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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