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

Definition of institution

1 : an act of instituting : establishment
2a : 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
b : an established organization or corporation (such as a bank or university) especially of a public character financial institutions
c : 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.

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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

More than 1,200 higher-education institutions have closed in the past few years due to inauspicious economic circumstances eerily evocative of the context in which Yankton found itself back in the ‘80s. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The College That Became a Prison," 12 July 2019 The situation might be different in developing countries, where there is a lack of financial institution infrastructure and unstable currencies. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The White House’s social media summit has an ulterior motive," 11 July 2019 His plan would seek to include African Americans in high-ranking executive branch positions and promote anti-bias training throughout the country's institutions. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "The Douglass Plan: Pete Buttigieg rolls out details of his blueprint for African Americans," 11 July 2019 Much of the media aid industry still holds the view that media workers and institutions in the South should emulate their counterparts in the North. Herman Wasserman, Quartz Africa, "Donor-funded African journalism is getting caught between the US and China world view," 9 July 2019 It was enacted to close a loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited public discrimination in race, religion and gender but did not encompass educational institutions. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Celebrate the US women’s soccer team, but also celebrate Title IX," 8 July 2019 For nine years, the beloved Savannah, Georgia institution has offered free ice cream to kids who recited the Pledge of Allegiance when visiting the shop during the month of July. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Free Leopold’s Ice Cream," 4 July 2019 Combating them effectively has less to do with sounding the alarm than with taking up a broader fight for economic equality and for robust, democratic social institutions. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Democratic Rot and the Origins of American Conspiracism," 3 July 2019 Opening an embassy in London also helps to raise the profile of the institution more broadly, says Tony Edwards, the Loughborough campus’s incoming head. The Economist, "Seeking students and status, regional universities set up in London," 29 June 2019

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 1

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Statistics for institution

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for institution

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

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More Definitions for institution



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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Comments on institution

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something desired as essential

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