[muhl-tee-ling-gwuh l, muhl-tahy- or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-uh l]


using or able to speak several or many languages with some facility.
spoken or written in several or many languages: a multilingual broadcast.
dealing with or involving several or many languages: a multilingual dictionary of business terms.


a multilingual person.

Origin of multilingual

First recorded in 1830–40; multi- + lingual
Related formsmul·ti·lin·gual·ly, adverbmul·ti·lin·gual·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for multilingualism



able to speak more than two languages
written or expressed in more than two languagesCompare bilingual, monolingual
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 multilingualism



also multi-lingual, 1838, from multi- + Latin lingua "language," literally "tongue" (see lingual). Related: Multilingually; multilingualism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper