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[muhl-ti-lat-er-uh l] /ˌmʌl tɪˈlæt ər əl/
having several or many sides; many-sided.
participated in by more than two nations, parties, etc.; multipartite:
multilateral agreements on disarmament.
Origin of multilateral
First recorded in 1690-1700; multi- + lateral
Related forms
multilateralism, noun
multilateralist, adjective, noun
multilaterally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for multilateral
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The 70s witnessed a proliferation of multilateral assistance programs.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • The word "multilateral" (many-sided) is a translation of the Greek polypleuros.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • The whole poem represents the multilateral character of Hinduism.

    Ten Great Religions James Freeman Clarke
  • Fashion has changed this to "polygonal" (many-angled), the word "multilateral" rarely being seen.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • Triangles are of three kinds, the equilateral or three-sided, the quadrilateral or four-sided, and the multilateral or polyglot.

    Toaster's Handbook Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers
British Dictionary definitions for multilateral


/ˌmʌltɪˈlætərəl; -ˈlætrəl/
of or involving more than two nations or parties: a multilateral pact
having many sides
Derived Forms
multilaterally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for multilateral

also multi-lateral, 1690s, in geometry, "having many sides," from multi- + Latin latus (genitive lateris) "side" (see oblate (n.)). Figurative use by 1748. Meaning "pertaining to three or more countries" is from 1802. Related: Multilaterally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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