[ 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 formsmul·ti·lat·er·al·ism, nounmul·ti·lat·er·al·ist, adjective, nounmul·ti·lat·er·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for multilateral

British Dictionary definitions for multilateral


/ (ˌmʌltɪˈlætərəl, -ˈlætrəl) /


of or involving more than two nations or partiesa multilateral pact
having many sides
Derived Formsmultilaterally, 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 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