When something is bilateral it has two sides or it affects both sides of something. Discussions between two political parties are called bilateral because both sides get to share their views.

Bilateral comes from Latin: bi means "two" and lateralis means "belonging to the side." Debates about issues can be described as bilateral — as long as people on both sides get to speak. However, bilateral can describe anything with two sides, like some of the organs in the body: the brain, heart and lungs all have two distinct sides.

Definitions of bilateral

adj having two sides or parts

many-sided, multilateral
having many parts or sides

adj having identical parts on each side of an axis

bilaterally symmetric, bilaterally symmetrical, isobilateral
symmetric, symmetrical
having similarity in size, shape, and relative position of corresponding parts

adj affecting or undertaken by two parties

“a bilateral agreement between the United States and Japan”
mutual, reciprocal
concerning each of two or more persons or things; especially given or done in return

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