View synonyms for bilateral


[ bahy-lat-er-uhl ]


  1. pertaining to, involving, or affecting two or both sides, factions, parties, or the like:

    a bilateral agreement; bilateral sponsorship.

  2. located on opposite sides of an axis; two-sided, especially when of equal size, value, etc.
  3. Biology. pertaining to the right and left sides of a structure, plane, etc.
  4. Chiefly Law. (of a contract) binding the parties to reciprocal obligations.
  5. through both parents equally: Compare unilateral ( def 7 ).

    bilateral affiliation.


  1. Informal. a bilateral agreement, especially regarding international trade.


/ baɪˈlætərəl /


  1. having or involving two sides
  2. affecting or undertaken by two parties; mutual

    a bilateral treaty

  3. denoting or relating to bilateral symmetry
  4. having identical sides or parts on each side of an axis; symmetrical
  5. sociol relating to descent through both maternal and paternal lineage Compare unilateral
  6. relating to an education that combines academic and technical courses
  7. a bilateral meeting

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Derived Forms

  • biˈlaterally, adverb

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Other Words From

  • bi·later·al·ism bi·later·al·ness noun
  • bi·later·al·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bilateral1

First recorded in 1765–75; bi- 1 + lateral

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Example Sentences

Sinan Ülgen, a former Turkish diplomat who now chairs the Istanbul-based think tank Edam, says Turkey and Russia would strive to find a way through the conflict without harming their bilateral relationship.

From Ozy

Several wealthy countries have already negotiated bilateral deals with Covid-19 vaccine developers to secure vaccines for their citizens.

From Quartz

Given that many governments are now in bilateral negotiations with manufacturers to secure the doses they need, even before it is known whether the vaccine will succeed, we are now at a critical juncture.

From Fortune

By taking a purely “me-first,” bilateral approach, not only do those governments risk ending up with no vaccines at all, but they also expose their citizens to the risk of resurgence by leaving the majority of the world to go without.

From Fortune

Quite bilateral, not leveraging our allies and partners who have shared interests with us and who have some of the same issues with China, and not leveraging the power of a coalition in confronting China on some of these issues.

Now the question in Colombia, is, will a bilateral ceasefire be announced in coming days?

In the past, Santos has been stubbornly opposed to a bilateral ceasefire, but his position on the issue may be shifting.

That said, I am not as sanguine about the future of the U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship.

Al-Huthaili is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the two countries are not bound by a bilateral extradition treaty.

Kirby said this would include "exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences."

In rare instances the eruption has been observed to be bilateral.

Till the close of stage C the mesoblast retains its primitive bilateral condition unaltered.

The cells of both layers are quite continuous across the median line, and exhibit no trace of a bilateral arrangement.

On the other hand, the cnidaria develop into higher radial (star-shaped) persons, and the platodes into lower bilateral persons.

The bilateral-symmetrical type is general among the higher animals which move about freely.


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