[bahy-ling-gwuh l or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-uh l]


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.

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

Contemporary Examples of bilingual

Historical Examples of bilingual

  • Bilingual races are up to the tactics of rats with a double hole.

    Cradock Nowell, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • In this room is a slab with a bilingual inscription, in Latin and Umbrian, from Todi.

    Walks in Rome

    Augustus J.C. Hare

  • Signor Marinetti, who is bilingual, is eccentrically amusing.


    James Huneker

  • Unity has arisen in spite of the bilingual p. 126difficulty.

  • In the Dutch colony at Holland, Michigan, the churches are bilingual.

    A Stake in the Land

    Peter Alexander Speek

British Dictionary definitions for bilingual



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