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

Keep scrolling for more

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



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web For a $10 club membership, customers can help establish each soup’s rating and receive first dibs on club merchandise, along with other perks. Leeanne Griffin,, "Three fall festivals in Connecticut adapted, not canceled by COVID-19," 10 Sep. 2020 The group also aims to establish a series of internal seminars and workshops, and to connect with women’s groups of other NFL teams. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "'I don't want to walk in and be your puppet': Julie Donaldson sets sights on changing culture within Washington Football Team," 10 Sep. 2020 This will help establish company culture and build a team. Christian Burno, Dallas News, "Farmers market favorite Bam’s Vegan to open new grab-and-go restaurant in Irving," 4 Sep. 2020 By testing the sewage at Ingels, UK hopes to establish a control group and compare further wastewater testing at residence halls to that. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "UK health experts: Students should be able to stay on campus until Nov. 24," 4 Sep. 2020 The Development Bank of Southern Africa earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding to establish and manage the infrastructure fund. Roxanne Henderson,, "South Africa’s Infrastructure Fund to Target Private Investment," 29 Aug. 2020 The weaknesses included an aggressive focus on quarterly revenue and a failure by executives to establish and promote a control environment with an appropriate tone of compliance, the company said at the time. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "Supermicro Fined $17.5 Million Over Accounting Violations," 26 Aug. 2020 Beyond evaluating possible position switches, the spring would have been an opportunity to develop a depth chart, establish a leadership council and install a new offense and defense. Greg Luca,, "UTSA Roadrunners continue fight against time as depth chart takes shape," 25 Aug. 2020 Crews were able to establish and hold boundaries on the fire. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "U.S. 60 reopens, evacuations lifted after Gin and Griffin wildfires merge near Globe," 24 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about establish

Time Traveler for establish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for establish

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Establish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!