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, 11 Sep. 2023 So what does constitute a diversion-worthy accident? Erin Clements, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 Asian and Asian American applicants constituted 26 percent of applicants and 19 percent of finalists. Michael Powell, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2023 After the defense attorneys accused prosecutors of withholding information favorable to their case, Sammartino, the judge, ordered a three-day hearing in April 2022 — ultimately ruling that prosecutors had failed to turned over the information, constituting misconduct. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 The fight over what constitutes approval of tax measures is not new at the state and local level. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Sep. 2023 Whether that constitutes a rule break was being debated. Zack Sharf, Variety, 30 Aug. 2023 Max Whitaker, head of bespoke at Thom Sweeney, says that a yacht actually constitutes a convenient meeting place for a visiting tailor. Gemma Harris, Robb Report, 26 Aug. 2023 Where sales from stock once constituted 90 percent of volume, now fewer than 10 percent of customers take delivery from stock, with 90 percent of sales built to order. Jamie Kitman, Car and Driver, 26 Aug. 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 23 Sep. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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