con·sti·tute | \ ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌtüt , -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

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

These units, although small and unpretentious facilities within a hospital, seldom exceeding eight beds, constitute a major therapeutic innovation in dealing with the inordinate mortality from heart attacks. Daniel C. Schlenoff, Scientific American, "“Foul Treachery” of Trotsky and Lenin in 1918; Phineas Gage’s Brain in 1868," 13 July 2018 First-generation students constituted roughly 46 percent of the total freshman and transfer admissions for the fall, officials said. Lauren Hernandez,, "UC admits record number of transfer students for fall," 12 July 2018 This might ultimately mean that such data is safe from companies like Cambridge Analytica, but the software still constitutes a violation of privacy. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Facebook Is Still Abusing Your Privacy," 11 July 2018 Camp and ghetto survivors, however, constituted the minority of Jewish DP survivors, Grossman said at the conference. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Your access, link to, or use of the site, or any service on this site, after the posting of modifications to the TOS will constitute YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE TOS, as modified. Bloomberg, "Terms of Service," 8 July 2018 What is your over/under for numbers of wins for the Lakers as they are currently constituted and why? Nick Talbot, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ Roundtable: How the Spurs’ and NBA free agency is shaping up," 7 July 2018 San Bruno had argued the referendum constituted an administrative act — such, as a contract with a consultant — not legislative, which includes things like general land-use plans. Phillip Molnar,, "Judge needs more time to review SDSU West's stadium ballot initiative," 6 July 2018 Visitors to Thailand from China totaled more than 9.8 million people in 2017, constituting the largest share by country of a record 35.38 million foreign tourists in all. Vincent Thian,, "33 Chinese dead, 23 missing after boat sinks off Thai island," 6 July 2018

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

Share constitute

Statistics for constitute

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constitute

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 , -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 \

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).


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!