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

Definition of constitute

transitive verb

1 : make up, form, compose 12 months constitute a year. … high school dropouts who constitute a major problem in large city slums.— J. B. Conant
2 : set up, establish: such as
a : enact regulations as are constituted by the government
b : found constitute a provisional government
c(1) : to give due or lawful form to an agreement constituted by writing
(2) : to legally process
3 : to appoint to an office, function, or dignity Legal authority constitutes all magistrates.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for constitute


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The office also released a racial profiling report showing that Austin police disproportionately pull over black motorists, who make up 8% of the population but constitute 15% of the stops. Robert Kuznia, CNN, "When it comes to policing the police, strong watchdogs are the exception," 25 June 2020 In Greater Birmingham, Black people constitute 28% of the population but own just 3% of businesses. al, "Moving from conversation to action," 25 June 2020 To extend Johnson an invite for a 2020 Ring of Honor induction following the Canton delay would constitute a meaningful gesture from Jones. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "With Canton postponed, there’s no reason to further delay Jimmy Johnson’s invite to Cowboys’ Ring of HonorThis article has comments enabled.," 25 June 2020 This designation, however, does not constitute formal drug approval, and remdesivir’s safety and efficacy are still being investigated in several clinical trials. Katherine J. Wu,, "Gilead to test a version of remdesivir that can be inhaled," 22 June 2020 The 2020 projects actually constitute the second phase of the township’s downtown improvement efforts. Jarrad Saffren, USA TODAY, "Mount Holly continues to improve High Street business district," 20 June 2020 The Heritage Foundation, citing Bureau of Justice Statistics data, reported that noncitizens constitute roughly 7% of the U.S. population yet accounted for nearly 64% of all federal arrests in 2018. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Illegal immigrant in Georgia charged with providing alcohol to minor and raping her," 19 June 2020 While black people constitute just 13% of the U.S. population, nearly one in four COVID-19 deaths where the patient's race is known is black, according to the COVID Tracking Project's racial data initiative. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The enduring history of health care inequality for black Americans," 19 June 2020 The numbers constitute a stark increase from two weeks ago, when Centers for Medicaid and Medicare first published the data. Caitlin Mcglade, azcentral, "New data shows more COVID-19 deaths, infections in nursing homes," 18 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of constitute

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for constitute

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about constitute

Time Traveler for constitute

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for constitute

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for constitute


How to pronounce constitute (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of constitute

: to make up or form something
: to be the same as something : to be equivalent to something
: to establish or create (an organization, a government, etc.)


con·​sti·​tute | \ ˈkän-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce constitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt \
constituted; constituting

Kids Definition of constitute

1 : to form the whole of Twelve months constitute a year.
2 : to establish or create constitute a new government


transitive verb
con·​sti·​tute | \ ˈkän-stə-ˌtüt, -ˌtyüt How to pronounce constitute (audio) \

Legal Definition of constitute

1 : to appoint to an office or function those who are constituted heirs or named legateesLouisiana Civil Code legal authority constitutes all magistrates
2 : establish, found to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme CourtU.S. Constitution art. I
3a : to put (as an agreement) into required form
b : to qualify as a letter can constitute a will— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al. failure to act may constitute negligence
c : to form the substance or whole of the bonds constituted the entire estate

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on constitute

What made you want to look up constitute? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!