bi·​lin·​gual·​ism | \ (ˌ)bī-ˈliŋ-gwə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce bilingualism (audio) \

Definition of bilingualism

1 : the ability to speak two languages
2 : the frequent use (as by a community) of two languages
3 : the political or institutional recognition of two languages

Examples of bilingualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But critics of the bill say that stigmatizing bilingualism will prove damaging for Quebec. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 10 Oct. 2021 Critics of the bill said that bilingualism should be seen as an advantage — not a threat — and accused Quebec’s government of seeking to expunge English and other minority languages. New York Times, 9 Oct. 2021 Their picture books, written by the co-founders, are designed to introduce bilingualism and Latin American culture to children. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 In the later years of her life, Dr. Kannapell called on younger generations of activists to carry on her campaign for deaf children, and in particular for a culture of bilingualism that celebrates ASL. Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2021 She is credited with taking the existing concept of bilingualism and applying it to the deaf experience — a breakthrough that recognized and elevated the value of A.S.L. and empowered its users. New York Times, 21 Aug. 2021 The University of Oregon College of Education professor, who specializes in language, literacy and bilingualism, told The Oregonian/OregonLive last September that young students need plentiful time in front of a teacher. oregonlive, 3 Apr. 2021 Understanding the market potential, the artist harnessed his bilingualism to write and rap verses in both English and Spanish. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2020 Some of the most compelling research on bilingualism and aging comes from Ellen Bialystok of York University in Toronto. Martha Shade, CNN, 23 Oct. 2020

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

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of bilingualism was in 1873

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Dictionary Entries Near bilingualism

bilingual education



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Statistics for bilingualism

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bilingualism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on bilingualism

Britannica English: Translation of bilingualism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bilingualism


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