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 But the country contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated or constitute a genocide. NBC News, "Biden recognizes Armenian deaths as genocide, prompting relief in Armenia and fury in Turkey," 24 Apr. 2021 These constitute one sort of female archetype in Okubo’s art; the other variety is a Bantu woman, her body adorned with blue crescent moons, her hair knotted in hornlike twists and her feet clad in tiger-stripe boots. Washington Post, "In the galleries: Building on an artwork expressed via different media," 23 Apr. 2021 Animal rights groups, on the other hand, argue that such practices as routine tail-docking and narrow gestation crates for sows constitute animal abuse, and that animal pain and suffering is widespread. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, "Winners of the 2021 World Press Photo Contest," 15 Apr. 2021 California's penal code includes a section saying that removing or damaging plants from property that a person doesn’t own — without permission — may constitute trespass or petty theft. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, "No, it's not illegal to pick a California poppy. Why does everyone think it is?," 14 Apr. 2021 In Washington, Kremlinologists are convinced that these provocative actions constitute a deliberate effort by Putin to test America’s new President. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Vladimir Putin Has a Message: “Hey, Joe, Are You Listening?”," 8 Apr. 2021 Some evangelicals believe that any Covid restrictions — including mask mandates and restrictions on in-person church worship — constitute oppression. New York Times, "How White Evangelicals’ Vaccine Refusal Could Prolong the Pandemic," 5 Apr. 2021 CDs and other digital formats are all well and good, and may even constitute the majority of recordings in a collector’s library. Robert Ross, Robb Report, "Review: You Might Not Be a True Audiophile Without the State-of-the-Art Ramar Record Brush," 2 Apr. 2021 The trial court found that the NCAA’s rules constitute price collusion which violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act (1890). Time, "March Madness Exploits Black Athletes. The Supreme Court Should End This Injustice Now," 30 Mar. 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 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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