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 An upset at Minnesota — which would constitute McCarthy’s first road victory as Cowboys coach — could set the tone. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "'Don't ever get this twisted': Why 2-7 Cowboys still believe in 2020 chances, beginning this week vs. Vikings," 19 Nov. 2020 The company does not list a set number of guests that constitute a party. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Airbnb suspends 25 listings in Cleveland for violating ban on house parties," 19 Nov. 2020 Currently doing virtual promotion for her upcoming romantic drama Sylvie’s Love, Thompson has been testing out impressive runway pieces in the Zoom meetings, conference calls, and chat sessions that now constitute a press tour. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Tessa Thompson’s Psychedelic Suit is the Ultimate Work from Home Look," 18 Nov. 2020 With encouragement, leadership and political cover provided by the White House, their numbers could grow to the point that constitute the core of a governing coalition. Washington Post, "Forget McConnell. Forget Pelosi. In a divided Congress, Biden needs to build his own coalition.," 9 Nov. 2020 As of Wednesday, more than 63,200 coronavirus infections had been reported and more than 3,200 people had died in the four counties that constitute the valley — more fatalities than in any of the urban centers of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "In Texas Towns Gutted by Covid-19, a Fragile Effort to Sustain a Cherished Sport," 22 Oct. 2020 Some of the nations that constitute the I.E.A. are clearly ready for more: in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson’s government noised around the idea that all of its home electricity could come from offshore wind by 2030. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "The Most Important Global Forecast That You’ve Never Heard Of," 14 Oct. 2020 More than 6,000 pink-nosed merino sheep roam the 2,500 rolling acres that constitute Glenaan Station, a century-old farm two hours north of Christchurch. Sheila Marikar, Fortune, "Allbirds is stepping up for the planet—by treading lightly on it," 21 Sep. 2020 But among the dead are an untold number of parents who've left behind children that constitute another kind of victim. Matt Sedensky, Star Tribune, "'I miss mommy': Families shattered by COVID forge new paths," 21 Sep. 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.

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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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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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

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