verb es·tab·lish \ i-ˈsta-blish \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of establish

transitive verb
1 :to institute (something, such as a law) permanently by enactment or agreement
2 obsolete :settle 7
3 a :to make firm or stable
b :to introduce and cause to grow and multiply
  • establish grass on pasturelands
4 a :to bring into existence :found
  • established a republic
b :bring about, effect
  • established friendly relations
5 a :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


play \i-ˈsta-bli-shə-bəl\ adjective


play \i-ˈsta-bli-shər\ noun

Examples of establish in a Sentence

  1. The film established her as a star.

  2. She established a reputation as a hard worker.

  3. The word is now established as part of the English language.

  4. The company has established itself as a leader in the industry.

  5. As a young doctor he worked hard to establish himself in the community.

  6. They want to establish their children in the family business.

  7. She established a system of tracking expenses more accurately.

  8. The two countries established a mutual trade agreement.

  9. establishing a link between diet and cancer

  10. Investigators are trying to establish if anyone knew about these problems before the accident.

Recent Examples of establish from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of establish

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

ESTABLISH Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of establish for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

ESTABLISH Defined for Kids


verb es·tab·lish \ i-ˈsta-blish \

Definition of establish for Students

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

Law Dictionary


transitive verb es·tab·lish

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 Constitution
  • U.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 roads
  • U.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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