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. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 27 Sep. 2023 Soon, Brian would know all about the English musician who constituted 33 percent of the chart-topping pop group the Police. John Kelly, Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2023 As a species, humans once ate thousands of plant foods, but only a hundred and fifty are cultivated at scale for food today, three of which—rice, wheat, and maize—constitute fifty per cent of all calories. Manvir Singh, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Job stressors, including heavy workloads, tight deadlines and environments that take autonomy away from workers, constitute job strain that's severe enough to hurt workers' heart health. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 19 Sep. 2023 In June, Boebert tried to force a vote on articles of impeachment against President Biden, claiming his immigration policies constituted high crimes and misdemeanors. Annie Karni,, 16 Sep. 2023 Now, what constitutes a New York restaurant is different. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2023 Supervising physicians can be held personally liable only when the supervisor is personally involved in an informed consent violation or when the supervisor's corrective inaction constitutes deliberate indifference towards the violation, the filing states. Ron Wood, Arkansas Online, 12 Sep. 2023 So what does constitute a diversion-worthy accident? Erin Clements, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 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 3 Oct. 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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