es·​tab·​lish | \ i-ˈsta-blish How to pronounce establish (audio) \
established; establishing; establishes

Definition of establish

transitive verb

1 : to institute (something, such as a law) permanently by enactment or agreement
2 obsolete : settle sense 7
3a : to make firm or stable
b : to introduce and cause to grow and multiply establish grass on pasturelands
4a : to bring into existence : found established a republic
b : bring about, effect established friendly relations
5a : to put on a firm basis : set up establish his son in business
b : to put into a favorable position
c : to gain full recognition or acceptance of the role established her as a star
6 : to make (a church) a national or state institution
7 : to put beyond doubt : prove established my innocence

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Other Words from establish

establishable \ i-​ˈsta-​bli-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce establishable (audio) \ adjective
establisher \ i-​ˈsta-​bli-​shər How to pronounce establisher (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for establish



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Examples of establish in a Sentence

The film established her as a star. She established a reputation as a hard worker. The word is now established as part of the English language. The company has established itself as a leader in the industry. As a young doctor he worked hard to establish himself in the community. They want to establish their children in the family business. She established a system of tracking expenses more accurately. The two countries established a mutual trade agreement. establishing a link between diet and cancer Investigators are trying to establish if anyone knew about these problems before the accident.
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Recent Examples on the Web The group, now 5,500 members since being established Sunday, expressed concern about the protesters – such as whether the protesters' group included people from out of state and had arrived in caravans of cars and buses, the report said. Fox News, "Citizen patrols to back up officers will hinder peace efforts, police say," 2 June 2020 In response to the disturbances, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway declared a state of emergency and established a 12:01 a.m. curfew Sunday, though it was not adhered to by many. Allison Garfield, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison cleans up after violence erupts following a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd," 31 May 2020 Why things won’t change Official relations date back to February 1971, when Nigeria established diplomatic relations with China. Abdul-gafar Tobi Oshodi, Quartz Africa, "The maltreatment of Nigerians in China isn’t likely to end anytime soon," 31 May 2020 Most of all, the JDE in its name stands for Jacobs Douwe Egberts, borne out of a 2014 merger of Mondelez International Inc.’s caffeine business and Dutch coffee stalwart Douwe Egberts, first established in 1753. Swetha Gopinath, Fortune, "IPOs may be a rarity in 2020—but the world’s oldest exchange is still a hot place to list," 31 May 2020 The new workplace comedy centers on a group of people tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the United States Space Force. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Nick Saban, Alabama get a ‘Roll Tide!’ during new Netflix sitcom ‘Space Force’," 30 May 2020 There’s an inherent unfairness to the lottery system, but equalizing the total amount of games played would establish parity. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' NBA draft odds hinge on league's return-to-play proposals. The latest," 29 May 2020 The committee is also likely to take up the bill establishing a commission that would be tasked with investigating racial disparities in education, criminal justice, health and employment and recommending policy changes. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Congress Plans Hearings on Racial Violence and Use of Force by the Police," 29 May 2020 Financial support has been promised for establishing farm gate infrastructure such as cold and post-harvest storage facilities. S Gopikrishna Warrier, Quartz India, "India’s Covid-19 relief package has environmental consequences," 27 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'establish.' 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 establish

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for establish

Middle English establissen, from Anglo-French establiss-, stem of establir, from Latin stabilire, from stabilis stable

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Time Traveler for establish

Time Traveler

The first known use of establish was in the 14th century

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Statistics for establish

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Establish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for establish


How to pronounce establish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of establish

: to cause (someone or something) to be widely known and accepted
: to put (someone or something) in a position, role, etc., that will last for a long time
: to begin or create (something that is meant to last for a long time)


es·​tab·​lish | \ i-ˈsta-blish How to pronounce establish (audio) \
established; establishing

Kids Definition of establish

1 : to bring into being : found They established a colony.
2 : to put beyond doubt : prove She established her innocence.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of establish

1 : to institute (as a law) permanently by enactment or agreement we the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this ConstitutionU.S. Constitution preamble
2 : to make firm or stable
3 : to bring into existence : found Congress shall have power…to establish post offices and post roadsU.S. Constitution art. I specifically : to found (a national bank) pursuant to a charter
4 : to make (a church) a national or state institution — see also establishment, establishment clause
5 : to put beyond doubt : prove
6 : to place in a position of being accepted or followed a rule established by case law

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