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.

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 The fact that this help is paid for can constitute a barrier for the coach, as help is usually offered for free. Xavier Preterit, Forbes, 8 June 2022 The probes followed a February order from Gov. Greg Abbott stating that such care could constitute abuse. Elizabeth Findell, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Although policyholder Wakonda Club lost in its lawsuit before the Iowa Supreme Court, the justices held that contamination can constitute physical loss or damage. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 May 2022 That order cited a legal opinion from Paxton that determined controversial transgender procedures constitute child abuse. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 12 Mar. 2022 These treatments constitute a highly lucrative market because they are used to help the body fight cancer, infection, and a wide array of other diseases — and often carry considerable price tags. Ed Silverman, STAT, 18 July 2022 Ebola virus disease and other viral hemorrhagic fevers constitute nearly 70% of these outbreaks, while dengue fever, anthrax, plague, monkeypox and a range of other diseases make up the remaining 30%, according to the analysis. Bymorgan Winsor, ABC News, 15 July 2022 The pictures constitute a sightseeing tour of the universe painted in colors no human eye has seen — the invisible rays of infrared, or heat radiation. New York Times, 11 July 2022 The pictures constitute a sightseeing tour of the universe painted in colors no human eye has seen — the invisible rays of infrared or heat radiation. Dennis Overbye,, 10 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near constitute

constituta pecunia



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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for constitute


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

More from Merriam-Webster on constitute

Nglish: Translation of constitute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of constitute for Arabic Speakers


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