[muhl-ti-lat-er-uh l]


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

Contemporary Examples of multilateral

Historical Examples of multilateral

  • The 70s witnessed a proliferation of multilateral assistance programs.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • The word "multilateral" (many-sided) is a translation of the Greek polypleuros.

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

  • The whole poem represents the multilateral character of Hinduism.

    Ten Great Religions

    James Freeman Clarke

  • Fashion has changed this to "polygonal" (many-angled), the word "multilateral" rarely being seen.

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

  • Triangles are of three kinds, the equilateral or three-sided, the quadrilateral or four-sided, and the multilateral or polyglot.

    Toaster's Handbook

    Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers

British Dictionary definitions for multilateral



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