mul·​ti·​lat·​er·​al | \ ˌməl-tē-ˈla-t(ə-)rəl How to pronounce multilateral (audio) , -ˌtī- \

Definition of multilateral

1 : having many sides
2 : involving or participated in by more than two nations or parties multilateral agreements

Other Words from multilateral

multilateralism \ ˌməl-​tē-​ˈla-​t(ə-​)rə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce multilateral (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ \ noun
multilateralist \ ˌməl-​tē-​ˈla-​t(ə-​)rə-​list How to pronounce multilateral (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ \ noun
multilaterally adverb

Did you know?

Since lateral means "side", multilateral means basically "many-sided". The philosophy of multilateralism claims that the best solutions generally result when as many of the world's nations as possible are involved in discussions, and multilateralists often favor strengthening the United Nations. Today multilateralism can be seen at work in, for example, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the International Criminal Court. But the U.S. doesn't always join the major multilateral organizations, instead often behaving as if a unilateral approach—that is, going it alone—was best for the interests of a powerful nation.

Examples of multilateral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Last month, under pressure from multilateral financial institutions, China participated for the first time in a meeting with the Paris Club of creditor nations to start resolving Zambia’s debt issue. New York Times, 25 July 2022 Authorities are banking heavily on multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, and friendly countries, for aid to tide over the crisis. Anusha Ondaatjie,, 9 July 2022 In recent years, Moscow has made a comeback as an influential power broker in international talks on Afghanistan, hosting the Taliban representatives and members of other factions for bilateral and multilateral meetings. Arkansas Online, 21 Oct. 2021 In Canada, the government is ready to enact a 3% DST in 2024 if the pillar 1 multilateral convention isn’t operational by then. Nana Ama Sarfo, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 The initial grain shipment and inspection are a critical test run for the export agreement, a multilateral deal wrought through months of diplomacy, U.N. officials said Tuesday. Jared Malsin, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2022 Addressing this requires multilateral action from governments, regulators, producers, manufacturers, and retailers. Alasdair Lane, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 Before heading into a meeting of the full coalition, the leaders posed for a group photo, a tradition at multilateral gatherings. Arkansas Online, 17 July 2022 Before heading into a meeting of the full coalition, the leaders posed for a group photo, a tradition at multilateral gatherings. Tyler Pager,, 16 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'multilateral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of multilateral

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of multilateral was in 1606

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Multilateral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of multilateral for Spanish Speakers


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