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 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 Paxton knows that, but as far as he’s concerned, county elections officials have no discretion on the issue of what constitutes disability. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: Counties get mixed signals on mail-in voting," 2 May 2020 Today, there’s no standard definition of what constitutes an open office, but generally the space is considered distinct from cubicles and characterized by having a short barrier or no barrier at all between employees. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Goodbye to open office spaces? How experts are rethinking the workplace.," 30 Apr. 2020 This is especially true within the eurozone, which constitutes the most consequential element of the EU since its founding three decades ago. Peter Rough, National Review, "The European Union Needs More National Flexibility," 22 Apr. 2020 Furthermore, a majority of our finished generic drugs, which constitute ninety percent of the U.S. drug market, are made overseas, with a full forty percent coming from India, which in turn is also dependent on China for active drug ingredients. Katherine Eban, Time, "The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Creating a Drug Supply Crisis Just When We Most Need Medicine," 26 Mar. 2020 Given that Asian nations produce the bulk of the world’s generic drugs (which constitute some 90% of prescriptions in America), the decision is striking. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "A coronavirus drug has already been deployed in the U.S. as the WHO declares a pandemic," 11 Mar. 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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 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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