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


demonstrate, prove, show, substantiate



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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

An online petition established in support of Mr. Ito put a disclaimer at the top that it had been set up before news of the emails circulated. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "Director of M.I.T.’s Media Lab Resigns After Taking Money From Jeffrey Epstein," 7 Sep. 2019 The Medina County Arts Council, established in 1983, is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote and build community excellence through the arts in Medina County. Sam Boyer,, "Community park gets a facelift: Whit & Whimsey," 6 Sep. 2019 When it was established in 1951, Opelika’s Municipal Park was already a beautiful place, with Rocky Brook Creek babbling and tumbling playfully, offering a natural family attraction. Kelly Kazek |, al, "Antique kiddie train has charmed Alabamians since 1955," 5 Sep. 2019 The rules for short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBO were established by the Denver City Council in 2016 after residents began complaining that people coming and going from houses were disrupting residential neighborhoods. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Some Denver short-term rental owners are giving up their licenses, rather than risk criminal charges," 4 Sep. 2019 Reading are established part of the WSL setup these days and last season’s fifth place finish was reflective of the impressive rise of the club that produced current Chelsea star Fran Kirby., "2019/20 Women's Super League Preview: All Teams, Key Players, Transfers, How to Watch & More," 4 Sep. 2019 Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is at risk of not making the playoffs, which were established in 2004, for the first time in his career. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Breaking down NASCAR's playoff drivers, from who's in to final clinch scenarios," 4 Sep. 2019 Perhaps the clearest success story is the market established in Australia’s Murray-Darling river basin. Lucas Isakowitz, Time, "How to Save the Colorado River from Climate Change and Chronic Overuse," 3 Sep. 2019 Its value was established in the National Lung Screening Trial, a US$300 million National Cancer Institute study launched in 2002 that followed 53,000 current or former smokers for five years. Richard Gunderman, The Conversation, "The test that could save the life of a long-time smoker you know," 2 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for establish

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for establish

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

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More Definitions for establish



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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Comments on establish

What made you want to look up establish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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