• synonyms


[trahy-ling-gwuh l or, Canadian, -ling-gyoo-uh l]
  1. using, speaking, or involving three languages.
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Origin of trilingual

1825–35; < Latin trilingu(is) triple-tongued + -al1. See tri-, lingual
Related formstri·lin·gual·ism, nountri·lin·gual·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for trilingual

Historical Examples

  • It is probable that there was actual diversity in the trilingual versions.

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

  • It is trilingual--viz., Chinese, Uighur, and runic or Yenissei characters.

  • The first clue to these questions was, as in the parallel case of Egypt, afforded by a trilingual inscription.

    Human Origins

    Samuel Laing

  • He wandered about Europe, became bilingual, if not trilingual (he was never quite happy in German speech or German philosophy).

    The Critical Game

    John Albert Macy

  • The next problem in the study of cuneiform was the decipherment of the second language in each of the trilingual groups.

British Dictionary definitions for trilingual


  1. able to speak three languages fluently
  2. expressed or written in three languages
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Derived Formstrilingualism, nountrilingually, 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 trilingual


1834, from tri- + Latin lingua "language," literally "tongue" (see lingual).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper