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 India, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil and other countries in Latin America, South Africa, Senegal, and Rwanda all have the potential to establish vaccine manufacturing capacity and could become providers of vaccines globally. Dr. Tom Frieden, CNN, "Don't be blinded by the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel," 2 May 2021 Biden has pressed lawmakers to bring legislation to his desk by May 25 that would ban chokeholds, prohibit racial and religious profiling, establish a national database to track police misconduct and bar certain no-knock warrants. Washington Post, "Chauvin’s ‘particular cruelty’ to George Floyd should mean harsher sentence, Minnesota attorney general argues," 1 May 2021 The agency's plans are, through the Artemis Program, to land the first woman and next man of the moon by 2024 and establish a sustained presence there by 2028. Julia Musto, Fox News, "NASA astronauts grow leafy greens for longest stint on ISS," 1 May 2021 These choices undercut the ability to establish the character’s personalities through their physicality. Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture, "Mortal Kombat Is Hollywood’s Latest Disappointing Action Film," 30 Apr. 2021 Texas has given local governments the discretion to establish their own carbon monoxide rules. NBC News, "Texas enabled the worst carbon monoxide poisoning catastrophe in recent U.S. history," 29 Apr. 2021 In these rural communities, the state has no rules limiting how much water is pumped, and recent proposals to establish some rules in unregulated areas have failed to move forward in the Legislature. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, "A 'hidden crisis': Millions of groundwater wells are at risk of running dry, scientists find," 28 Apr. 2021 The deal will establish the European Union as Pfizer’s biggest single client by far; the company has so far sold 300 million doses to the United States. New York Times, "How Europe Sealed a Pfizer Vaccine Deal With Texts and Calls," 28 Apr. 2021 Tuesday’s progress is welcome news for the handful of district leaders who have already started moving ahead with plans to establish their own long-term virtual learning options. Talia Richman, Dallas News, "Texas House advances bill to expand virtual learning options post-COVID," 27 Apr. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Establish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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