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.

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Synonyms for constitute


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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 official would not say whether not delivering the doses on time would constitute a breach of the deal. Raf Casert, Star Tribune, "Tensions rise as AstraZeneca, EU hold vaccine delivery talks," 27 Jan. 2021 In recent weeks, Zdeb has worked with principals to rethink the way final exams are designed and what percentage exams constitute in a student’s final grades. Eleanore Catolico, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan schools consider pass/fail grading system, rethink final exams amid pandemic," 13 Jan. 2021 My original view stemmed to some degree from fears that the N.B.A. postseason would be truncated from its usual four rounds of best-of-seven series, and thus not constitute a representative championship run. New York Times, "From Kobe to LeBron: Tragedy and Triumph in the N.B.A.," 30 Dec. 2020 When the acquisition talks stalled, Apple sued Corellium last year, claiming its virtual iPhones, which contain only the bare bones functions necessary for security research, constitute a violation of copyright law. Washington Post, "Apple loses copyright battle against security start-up Corellium," 29 Dec. 2020 The combination would undoubtedly constitute collective improvement. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Mike McCarthy says Cowboys ‘moving in right direction’ despite loss to Eagles," 2 Nov. 2020 Many are at odds with positions long held by the middle Americans who constitute much of the party’s mainstream liberal/moderate majority. Ted Van Dyk, WSJ, "Can Biden Restrain His Party’s Left?," 22 Oct. 2020 Does this constitute a new normal for Manhattan renters? New York Times, "Manhattan Lease Signings Are Booming. Is It Enough for a Recovery?," 21 Jan. 2021 Still, the missing payments constitute less than 2% of the total amount billed. Kurtis Alexander,, "Water crisis looms as California households struggle to pay bills, suppliers lose revenue," 19 Jan. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for constitute

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for constitute

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for constitute



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

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