in·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce institution (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of institution

1a : an established organization or corporation (such as a bank or university) especially of a public character financial institutions
b : a facility or establishment in which people (such as the sick or needy) live and receive care typically in a confined setting and often without individual consent … the testator disinherited her siblings over their efforts to have her committed to a mental institution in the wake of several suicide attempts.— William M. McGovern Jr.
c : a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture the institution of marriage also : something or someone firmly associated with a place or thing she has become an institution in the theater
2 : an act of instituting : establishment

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Examples of institution in a Sentence

banks and other financial institutions an institution of higher learning Family visits are a Thanksgiving institution. She's not interested in the institution of marriage. The play has become something of an institution on Broadway. the institution of new rules and regulations
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Recent Examples on the Web Pubs are the beating heart of Britain, as vital a national institution as The Bard's writings themselves. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Plastic screens, tracings apps and table service. English pubs reopen on bittersweet day," 4 July 2020 Here is who could be taken in first round While Howard is well-known around the country as an academic institution and the alma mater of many famous Black politicians, journalists, doctors and artists, it is not known for high-level basketball. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Star basketball recruit Makur Maker choosing Howard is admirable. But it will take many others to lift HBCU basketball," 3 July 2020 The Mosul Martyrs Foundation, a government institution caring for the families of those killed under IS, examined the area initially, explained Dr. Hassan Raouf, head of Mosul’s forensics department, affiliated with the Health Ministry. Washington Post, "New mass grave unearthed in Iraq’s north from brutal IS rule," 2 July 2020 In the end, the family decided that he might be better served in a small institution, around other people. Michael Schulson, Quartz, "Coronavirus is renewing a call to abolish nursing homes," 25 June 2020 White supremacy has been as much a part of the LGBTQIA movement—itself an unwieldy coalition of interests which cut across class, race, and gender lines—as any other institution. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "A Dream of Lasting Solidarity at the Dyke March," 24 June 2020 Despite their desegregation, the national parks remained every bit as exclusionary as any public institution through much of the early 20th century. James Edward Mills, National Geographic, "Here’s how national parks are working to fight racism," 23 June 2020 Rice was founded as a segregated institution, and Dr. Freeman was among its first black lecturers., "Thomas Freeman, renowned debate coach, 100," 21 June 2020 Whoever wins will take over a less prominent institution. The Economist, "Charlemagne How a dining club briefly took over the EU," 20 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'institution.' 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 institution

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for institution

Time Traveler

The first known use of institution was in the 15th century

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Statistics for institution

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Institution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for institution


How to pronounce institution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of institution

: an established organization
: a place where an organization takes care of people for a usually long period of time
: a custom, practice, or law that is accepted and used by many people


in·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌin-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce institution (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Kids Definition of institution

1 : the beginning or establishment of something the institution of new rules
2 : an established custom, practice, or law Turkey dinners are a Thanksgiving institution.
3 : an established organization business institutions


in·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shən How to pronounce institution (audio) \

Medical Definition of institution

: a facility or establishment in which people (such as the sick or needy) live and receive care typically in a confined setting and often without individual consent a mental institution

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Legal Definition of institution

1 : the act of instituting
2 : a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture the institution of marriage
3 : an established organization or corporation especially of a public character specifically : a facility for the treatment or training of persons with mental deficiencies

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