mul·​ti·​lin·​gual | \ ˌməl-tē-ˈliŋ-gwəl How to pronounce multilingual (audio) , -ˈliŋ-gyə-wəl, -ˌtī-\

Definition of multilingual

1 : of, having, or expressed in several languages a multilingual sign multilingual dictionaries
2 : using or able to use several languages especially with equal fluency multilingual translators

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Other Words from multilingual

multilingualism \ ˌməl-​tē-​ˈliŋ-​gwə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce multilingualism (audio) , -​gyə-​wə-​ , -​ˌtī-​ \ noun
multilingually \ ˌməl-​tē-​ˈliŋ-​gwə-​lē How to pronounce multilingually (audio) , -​gyə-​wə-​lē , -​ˌtī-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

The roots of multilingual come from Latin. If you happen to prefer Greek, use the synonym polyglot, in which poly- has the same meaning as multi-, and -glot means the same thing as -lingual. The best way to become multilingual is probably to be born in a bilingual (two-language) household; learning those first two seems to give the mind the kind of exercise that makes later language-learning easy.

Examples of multilingual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With not a little pomp and some multilingual speechifying, architect Arata Isozaki was awarded the 2019 Pritzker Prize at the Château de Versailles outside of Paris late last month. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Arata Isozaki's Kyoto Concert Hall shows L.A. what might have been at MOCA," 7 June 2019 But while O'Rourke is standing on a great many counters and other surfaces, and raising record donations, Buttigieg—the openly gay, millennial, multilingual mayor of South Bend, Indiana— is the upstart candidate the Democrats didn't seen coming. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Who Is Pete Buttigeig, the Gay Millennial Mayor the Democrats Didn't See Coming?," 1 Apr. 2019 But many street names are only in Arabic, so a good multilingual GPS is a must—or hire a local driver who knows the roads. John Gregory-smith, Condé Nast Traveler, "In Lebanon, Let Food Be Your Guide," 16 Oct. 2018 Some 95 percent of Google Translate users are outside the United States, often in multilingual countries such as India and Indonesia. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Google Translate World Cup," 13 July 2018 Livid Residents Diaz-Granados, a multilingual Harvard University graduate who is originally from Colombia, spent 15 years at GE, including as president and chief executive officer of GE Spain and Portugal and GE Mexico. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 Zimbabwe, like many countries in Africa, is multilingual. Farai Mutsaka, The Seattle Times, "Zimbabwe faces accusations of leaking voters’ personal data," 10 July 2018 There is room for all at The Elbow Room, a small neighborhood pub in the multilingual, multiethnic goulash that is north London. Liz Clarke,, "In England, a nation conditioned to World Cup failure is starting to believe," 8 July 2018 In order to achieve acceptability, services must be culturally appropriate — in certain cases, this means care that is multilingual. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "STD rates rise in Sacramento County, following statewide, nationwide trends," 2 July 2018

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

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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The first known use of multilingual was in 1838

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More Definitions for multilingual



English Language Learners Definition of multilingual

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

More from Merriam-Webster on multilingual

Britannica English: Translation of multilingual for Arabic Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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