de·​in·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​i·​za·​tion (ˌ)dē-ˌin(t)-stə-ˌtü-shə-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce deinstitutionalization (audio)
: the release of institutionalized individuals from institutional care (as in a psychiatric hospital) to care in the community
: the reform or modification of an institution to remove or disguise its institutional character
deinstitutionalize transitive verb

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Decades after deinstitutionalization, some autistic children remain stuck in hospitals for lack of other options, and their parents are afraid or unable to bring them home. New York Times, 1 June 2022 There was little follow-through after deinstitutionalization. WSJ, 23 May 2022 As deinstitutionalization gained momentum, an infrastructure to help care for people in their communities was supposed to emerge in its place. New York Times, 14 June 2022 The erosion of cultural norms together with the deinstitutionalization of those with drug problems and mental illness lays bare what happens when a society takes down the guardrails of civil behavior. WSJ, 30 May 2022 The deinstitutionalization of people with major mental illness resulted from an unusual convergence of left-wing and right-wing political critiques, as Mr. Scull emphasizes. Richard J. Mcnally, WSJ, 13 May 2022 One is mental illness: The deinstitutionalization and defunding of psychiatric care preceded a spike in homelessness in the 1980s. The Week Staff, The Week, 1 May 2022 The first of these factors was the rise of the deinstitutionalization movement. Rachel Burr Gerrard, STAT, 13 Feb. 2022 The current crisis comes after more than a half-century of deinstitutionalization has largely emptied out the lockdown psychiatric hospitals where thousands of patients in New York were once held indefinitely under brutal conditions. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deinstitutionalization.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1955, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deinstitutionalization was in 1955

Dictionary Entries Near deinstitutionalization

Cite this Entry

“Deinstitutionalization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition



de·​in·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​iza·​tion (ˌ)dē-ˌin(t)-stə-ˌt(y)üsh-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, -ˌt(y)ü-shən-ᵊl-ə-ˈzā- How to pronounce deinstitutionalization (audio)
: the release of institutionalized individuals from institutional care (as in a psychiatric hospital) to care in the community
deinstitutionalize transitive verb
deinstitutionalized; deinstitutionalizing

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