in·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ˌin(t)-stə-ˈtü-shən, -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

These institutions forced assimilation onto people who were unwillingly taken from their families; their hair was cut, they were made to wear military uniforms, along with being forced to learn and speak English. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "10 Films That Show How the U.S. Has Mistreated Native Americans and Alaska Natives," 22 Nov. 2018 The importance of that is enormous; to support emerging artists and institutions and give art a broad platform like this is key. Vogue, "Backing Print: Gucci Wooster Opens a Bookstore Curated by Dashwood Books," 20 Nov. 2018 But numbers simply don’t lie, and those who wish to maintain white domination of America’s wealth and institutions know the numbers are against them. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 Al Ustadi Special Kebab - Iranian Local icons like Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed are fans of this kitschy yet wonderful institution that opened in 1978. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Andrew Zimmern's Back-Alley Tour of Dubai Dining," 18 Oct. 2018 The movement targets Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities in protest of Israel's policies regarding the Palestinian conflict. Fox News, "US graduate student detained in Israel for alleged pro-Palestinian boycott support," 9 Oct. 2018 These acts of protests appear to be part of greater effort to prevent institutions from censoring women through sexists dress codes that overwhelmingly target women. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "A College Student Ended Her School’s Sexist Sports-Bra Ban With a Brilliant Essay," 13 Nov. 2018 The French leader then praised multilateral institutions that emerged from the ashes of World War II—the U.N. and the EU—as guarantors of peace. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Macron Sounds Warning on Nationalism as Leaders Mark Armistice Day," 11 Nov. 2018 There's an impressive number of galleries, museums, and institutions of all sizes scattered across the vast cityscape. Carrie Hutchinson, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Museums in Melbourne," 26 Sep. 2018

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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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for institution

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

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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, -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 \

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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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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