[bahy-ling-gwuh-liz-uh m or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-uh-]


the ability to speak two languages fluently.
the habitual use of two languages.
Canadian. a government-supported program encouraging all citizens to acquire a knowledge of both English and French.

Nearby words

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

Also bi·lin·gual·i·ty [bahy-ling-gwal-i-tee or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-al-] /ˌbaɪ lɪŋˈgwæl ɪ ti or, Canadian, -lɪŋ gyuˈæl-/.

Origin of bilingualism

First recorded in 1870–75; bilingual + -ism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bilingualism

  • Associated words: bilingual, diglot, bilingualism, bilinguist.

    Putnam's Word Book|Louis A. Flemming
  • Instead of threatening national unity, bilingualism was its necessary condition.

    Belgium|Emile Cammaerts
  • Bilingualism must thus be considered as a solution of the language question in Belgium in the fifteenth century.

    Belgium|Emile Cammaerts

Word Origin and History for bilingualism



1873, from bilingual + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper