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 That basic framework will apply to all states who design an app to use the interface released by Apple and Google, but the states will be allowed to set their own thresholds for what constitutes close contact. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Alabama balances privacy against accuracy in contact tracing app," 29 May 2020 Yet, like anything else, what constitutes a feel-good outdoor experience varies by individual tastes. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "You'll see summer wildflowers on this Coconino National Forest hike. Here's how to do it," 29 May 2020 The issue: What constitutes physical loss and damage? Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, "Theater sues insurer for not covering coronavirus claim. Others are watching the outcome.," 28 May 2020 And the Fed’s idea of what constitutes a midsized business is many orders larger than is commonly meant by the term; the National Center for the Middle Market at Ohio State University, for example, defines the upper bound as $1 billion in revenue. Justin Elliott, ProPublica, "The Trump Administration Says a New Bailout Program Will Help 35 Million Americans. It Probably Won’t.," 14 May 2020 Whitmer's executive order permits doctors and dentists to determine what constitutes such an emergency for their patients. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Whitmer keeps dentists, outpatient medical centers closed across Michigan," 1 May 2020 As the death toll has risen, so have many peoples' ranges of what would constitute successful containment. CBS News, "Americans differ on views of COVID-19 impact - CBS News poll," 14 May 2020 Researchers need to learn more about what constitutes a durable protective immune response against COVID-19, scientists write. Fox News, "Coordinated strategy to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine is needed, top researchers say," 12 May 2020 The drag was mainly because of a fall in export of engineering goods, which constitute a third of India’s non-oil exports. Anirban Nag,, "India’s Economy Seems to Be Shaking Off a Slump," 5 May 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

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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