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 establish (audio) \ adjective
establisher \ i-​ˈsta-​bli-​shər How to pronounce establish (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 Shields Health and Excelera were among the first companies to work with hospitals across the country to establish onsite specialty pharmacies, focusing on treatment areas such as oncology, neurology, rheumatology, and diabetes. Larry Edelman,, "Shields Health buys largest specialty pharmacy competitor," 12 Jan. 2021 A month earlier, Gonzales asked Commissioners Court to use a portion of the county’s general fund, about $1 million, that was originally set aside to establish a civil court to instead hire prosecutors for misdemeanor family violence cases. Emilie Eaton,, "Bexar County District Attorney’s Office to hire more family violence prosecutors, resolving clash over $1 million," 12 Jan. 2021 Fred Kummer, founder of construction company HBE Corporation, and his wife, June, gave $300 million to establish a foundation to support programs at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. CBS News, "Jeff Bezos tops list of biggest charitable givers in 2020," 5 Jan. 2021 Don’t pick at this sore spot, instead try to re-establish your previous friendly contact. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Friend approaching COVID from different angle creates resentments, tears," 3 Jan. 2021 Don’t pick at this sore spot, instead try to re-establish your previous friendly contact. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 risks create fracture," 3 Jan. 2021 The Europeans who dominated Egypt in the early 1900s were the first to establish modern-day rowing clubs along the Nile. New York Times, "Rowing the Nile: A Soothing Respite in a Chaotic Metropolis," 2 Jan. 2021 The Stafford High School Class of 1969 is seeking to establish a scholarship in the name of Jerry Julian., "Community News For The Stafford Edition," 31 Dec. 2020 It was used to establish one emergency room for patients with symptoms of the virus while others with critical needs like a heart attack or stroke went to the existing emergency room. Steve Sadin,, "How Lake County hospitals battled COVID-19: Six Flags rain ponchos replace gowns, ER tent rises overnight, nurses declared heroes," 31 Dec. 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

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Establish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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