[ bahy-ling-gwuh l or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-uh l ]
/ baɪˈlɪŋ gwəl or, Canadian, -ˈlɪŋ gyu əl /


able to speak two languages with the facility of a native speaker.
spoken, written, or containing similar information in two different languages: a bilingual dictionary; Public notices at the embassy are bilingual.
of, involving, or using two languages: a bilingual community; bilingual schools.


a bilingual person.

Nearby words

  1. biligenesis,
  2. bilinear,
  3. bilinear form,
  4. bilinear transformation,
  5. bilineate,
  6. bilingual education,
  7. bilingualism,
  8. bilious,
  9. biliously,
  10. bilirachia

Origin of bilingual

1835–45; < Latin bilingu(is) (bi- bi-1 + lingu-, stem of lingua tongue + -is adj. suffix) + -al1

Related formsbi·lin·gual·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bilingual

British Dictionary definitions for bilingual


/ (baɪˈlɪŋɡwəl) /


able to speak two languages, esp with fluency
written or expressed in two languages


a bilingual person
Derived Formsbilingualism, nounbilingually, 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

Word Origin and History for bilingual



1818, from bi- + lingual. Latin bilinguis meant literally "two-tongued," and, figuratively, "speaking a jumble of languages," also "double-tongued, hypocritical, false."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper