• synonyms


[muhl-ti-lat-er-uh l]
  1. having several or many sides; many-sided.
  2. participated in by more than two nations, parties, etc.; multipartite: multilateral agreements on disarmament.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for multilateralism

Contemporary Examples of multilateralism

British Dictionary definitions for multilateralism


  1. of or involving more than two nations or partiesa multilateral pact
  2. having many sides
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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 multilateralism


1928, from multilateral + -ism.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

multilateralism in Culture



Trade or diplomatic negotiations among several nations. (See diplomacy and recognition; compare bilateralism (see also bilateralism) and unilateralism.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.