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 Bryant was complex and contradictory, alternately aloof and charming, multilingual and singularly competitive. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "How will Kobe Bryant be remembered? As greatness with an edge," 26 Jan. 2020 Her co-star Jodie Comer, who took the Emmy in September, was nominated for her role as a multilingual, chillingly off-kilter assassin in the BBC America drama. Washington Post, "Broadcast TV shut out of Globe nods, Netflix edges HBO," 9 Dec. 2019 Her co-star Jodie Comer, who took the Emmy in September, was nominated for her role as a multilingual, chillingly off-kilter assassin in the BBC America drama. Jocelyn Noveck,, "Broadcast TV shut out of Globe nods, Netflix edges HBO," 9 Dec. 2019 The multilingual inscription at Bisotun, celebrating the victory of the Persian emperor Darius over his enemies, has been likened to the Rosetta Stone. National Geographic, "What the world could lose in an Iran conflict," 6 Jan. 2020 Many of the multilingual signs on exhibits are now apologetic. Adam Hochschild, The Atlantic, "The Fight to Decolonize the Museum," 15 Dec. 2019 Language data affords a unique glimpse into the regional origins of immigrants from huge multilingual countries like India. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "South Asian languages like Malayalam and Bengali are among the fastest growing in the US," 2 Oct. 2019 Vickers is known for her extensive work experience, being multilingual in Croatian and speaks conversational Spanish and Italian. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor of the Week: Gordana Vickers knows the meaning of relocation," 21 Sep. 2019 The key is a map of three global language networks based on bilingual tweeters, book translations, and multilingual Wikipedia edits. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "Our favorite science news stories of the decade," 20 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for multilingual

Time Traveler

The first known use of multilingual was in 1838

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Multilingual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for multilingual


How to pronounce multilingual (audio)

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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