bi·​ki·​ni | \ bə-ˈkē-nē How to pronounce bikini (audio) \
plural bikinis

Definition of bikini

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a two-piece bathing suit worn by women that does not cover the midriff — see also string bikini, tankini
b : a short snug swimsuit worn by men
2 : a pair of low-cut briefs (see brief entry 2 sense 4) Launched in May, the underwear brand for men and women includes bikinis, … G-strings and boxer briefs.— Phyllis Furman … ultra low-rise jeans with a built-in bikini or thong.Sunday Tribune (South Africa) often used before another noun Bikini briefs are usually lower than the true waist, often at the hips.— Clifford Pugh


geographical name
Bi·​ki·​ni | \ bi-ˈkē-nē How to pronounce Bikini (audio) \

Definition of Bikini (Entry 2 of 2)

island (atoll) of the Marshall Islands

Note: Bikini was the site of U.S. atomic bomb tests in 1946 and hydrogen bomb tests in 1954 and 1956.

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Other Words from bikini


bikinied or less commonly bikini'd \ bə-​ˈkē-​nēd How to pronounce Bikini (audio) \ adjective

Geographical name

Bikinian \ bi-​ˈkē-​nē-​ən How to pronounce Bikini (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

In July 1946, a US Army–Navy task force detonated two thermonuclear bombs at Bikini, an atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and the event dominated news around the world. A French designer, Jacques Heim, used the occasion to introduce a skimpy two-piece bathing suit dubbed l’atome, “the atom.” Another designer, Louis Réard, followed it up with an even smaller suit for which he registered the name bikini. It was first modeled by dancer Micheline Bernardini at a Paris fashion show on July 5. There is no solid evidence for why he gave this name to the suit, but it has since become an international word.

Examples of bikini in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just last week Blake Lively uploaded a similar picture, albeit bikini-clad, to her Instagram Stories, encouraging followers to see her husband Ryan Reynolds’s movie, Free Guy. Elizabeth Loga, Glamour, 16 Aug. 2021 The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches. New York Times, 12 Aug. 2021 This story has been corrected to show the Norwegian beach handball team, not the beach volleyball team, refused to play in bikini bottoms. Emily Adams, USA TODAY, 12 Aug. 2021 Berg explained that her team knew they would be fined, but preferred to compete in shorts instead of bikini bottoms because the bikinis can ride up and leave them feeling exposed. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, 31 July 2021 Similarly, the Norwegian handball team recently refused to wear bikini bottoms and was fined during the sport's Euro 2021 tournament. NBC News, 28 July 2021 Last weekend, Norway’s women’s beach handball team opted to wear blue shorts to a game, instead of the usual athletic bikini bottoms worn for these events. Frances Solá-santiago,, 27 July 2021 The differences between men's and women's athletic uniforms has become a hot topic lately, most recently in the case of the Norwegian handball team fined for playing in shorts rather than regulation bikini bottoms. Hanna Flanagan,, 26 July 2021 At a European beach handball event, Norway's women refused to play in bikini bottoms and instead wanted to wear skin-tight shorts. Graham Dunbar, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021

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


1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bikini


French, from Bikini, atoll of the Marshall Islands

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bikini.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for bikini



English Language Learners Definition of bikini

: a piece of clothing in two parts that a girl or woman wears for swimming or for lying in the sun and that does not cover much of the body

More from Merriam-Webster on bikini

Nglish: Translation of bikini for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about bikini


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