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

Synonyms for constitute


compose, comprise, form, make up

Visit the Thesaurus 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 house museums, whether its a massive, Gilded Age mansion displaying priceless art or small, eccentric home run by volunteers, constitute a significant portion of the American cultural industry. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 However, this doesn't necessarily constitute an advantage that the Middle East has over the US, the researchers say, because similarly cheap land and transmission conditions can be had in the southwestern United States. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Are super-cheap solar fields in the Middle East just loss-leaders?," 8 Oct. 2018 Sandy obviously has a very juvenile idea of what constitutes a good time, while Danny is a very convincing liar. Jen Juneau,, "Grease Is Still the Word, 40 Years Later: Ranking the Iconic Teen Film's Musical Numbers," 16 June 2018 Banks are are required to file suspicious-activity reports with the government about any transactions that could possibly constitute fraud, money laundering, or other financial crimes. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Reports on Other ‘Suspicious’ Michael Cohen Transactions Have Gone Missing," 17 May 2018 The report concluded the tree's being in the constant presence of children constituted a high risk and recommended its removal. Sara Cardine,, "Giant deodar cedar at LCF preschool to get the ax after branch falls on playhouse," 3 May 2018 Part of the problem continues to lie in the recognition of what constitutes an oppressed population. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Anti-Semitism stains Labour, Corbyn again. Why does this keep happening?," 10 Apr. 2018 According to Arizona law, driving over 85 mph on state highways and freeways constitutes criminal speeding, a Class 3 misdemeanor that commonly ends in fines. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Video: Arizona lawmaker caught speeding says he drives as fast as 140 mph, claims immunity," 12 July 2018 The failure of Bloomberg to exercise or enforce any right or provision of the TOS shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. Bloomberg, "Terms of Service," 8 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

19 Nov 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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!