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 Mifepristone is used in combination with the drug misoprostol in nearly all medication abortions in the U.S., and medication abortions constituted more than half of abortions nationwide in 2020. Liz Szabo, Scientific American, 23 Feb. 2024 In fact, viruses constitute about two-thirds of all new human pathogens. Raúl Rivas González, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2024 Their inclusion on the list only constitutes a possible association as a witness, victim, plaintiff, or having business or social contact with Epstein and/or Maxwell, who is serving 20 years in federal prison for her conviction. Mark Williams, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024 Dawson pushed the limits of what a concert constituted by costuming the company and incorporating dance and movement. Michael J. Solender, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Feb. 2024 Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21). Natalya Lobanova, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2024 In 2013, movie calls constituted 65% of members’ work; by 2022, that number had dropped to 20%. Jon Burlingame, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 Speaking positively about others in their absence and sharing uplifting stories constitutes positive gossip. Mark Travers, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 But that may be changing with the 2024 Toyota Prius and the redefinition of what constitutes a practical electric-propulsion car. Brooke Crothers, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 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 1 Mar. 2024.

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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