con·​sti·​tute ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce constitute (audio)
constituted; constituting

transitive verb

: make up, form, compose
12 months constitute a year.
… high school dropouts who constitute a major problem in large city slums.J. B. Conant
: set up, establish: such as
: enact
regulations as are constituted by the government
: found
constitute a provisional government
: to give due or lawful form to
an agreement constituted by writing
: to legally process
: to appoint to an office, function, or dignity
Legal authority constitutes all magistrates.

Examples of constitute in a Sentence

Women constitute 70 percent of the student population at the college. nine players constitute a baseball team
Recent Examples on the Web Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Vogue, 27 Nov. 2023 The court also ruled that Wu gathered a crowd to engage in lewd activities and was the ringleader, therefore his behavior constituted the crime of group licentiousness. Patrick Frater, Variety, 25 Nov. 2023 Epic sued Google in 2020 after a fight over in-app purchase fees, claiming the Android operating system’s Google Play Store constituted an unlawful monopoly — while Google says its demands would damage Android’s ability to offer a secure user experience and compete with Apple’s iOS. Adi Robertson, The Verge, 20 Nov. 2023 Ukraine’s emergence as a successful and resilient democracy capable of defending itself would constitute a resounding defeat of Russian ambition. Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan, Foreign Affairs, 17 Nov. 2023 The potential fine, though, constituted less than .002% of the $6.63 billion in profit recorded by Aetna’s parent company, CVS Health, that year. Maya Miller, ProPublica, 16 Nov. 2023 What’s more, some commenters alleged this act actually does constitute a crime, no matter what the SIL said, calling the incident assault of a minor. Melissa Willets, Parents, 15 Nov. 2023 Alus constitute at least 13% of the human genome; there were over 300 copies in Totary-Jain’s mega-cluster. Annie Melchor, Quanta Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 Six years later, during the next round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, the militants routinely held news conferences on the hospital grounds and used them as a safe meeting place for Hamas officials to speak with journalists, though these activities do not constitute military use. Vivian Yee, New York Times, 12 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'constitute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin constitutus, past participle of constituere to set up, constitute, from com- + statuere to set — more at statute

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of constitute was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near constitute

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​sti·​tute ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌt(y)üt How to pronounce constitute (audio)
constituted; constituting
: to appoint to an office or duty
constituted authorities
: set up sense 4, establish
a fund was constituted to help needy students
: make up sense 2, form
twelve months constitute a year

Legal Definition


transitive verb
con·​sti·​tute ˈkän-stə-ˌtüt, -ˌtyüt How to pronounce constitute (audio)
: to appoint to an office or function
those who are constituted heirs or named legateesLouisiana Civil Code
legal authority constitutes all magistrates
: establish, found
to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme CourtU.S. Constitution art. I
: to put (as an agreement) into required form
: to qualify as
a letter can constitute a willW. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.
failure to act may constitute negligence
: to form the substance or whole of
the bonds constituted the entire estate

More from Merriam-Webster on constitute

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