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

Trump and hurricane: In the Sept. 14 Section A, an article about White House pressure on U.S. weather agencies after President Trump’s inaccurate statement regarding Hurricane Dorian misstated the name of an academic institution. Los Angeles Times, "For the Record," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead, the median gap examines what women and men earn across an entire institution. CNN, "The gender pay gap will remain until companies change their ways," 17 Sep. 2019 But for students who haven’t dealt with an institution like a college before, that can be quite daunting. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "The Price of Ascending America’s Class Ladder," 16 Sep. 2019 Polarizing congressional politics have severely diminished the legislative pace in the Senate, which has become an institution recognized more for no votes being taken rather than for people voting no. New York Times, "The Senate: Still Great at Deliberating, but Less So at Legislating," 14 Sep. 2019 Likewise, Gallup has tracked the precipitous decline in confidence in American institutions. Jennifer Mercieca, The Conversation, "Why won’t Democrats say they want government to solve problems?," 13 Sep. 2019 As an economic institution, the commons now seems as old-fashioned as constitutional documents sealed by noblemen in meadows. The Economist, "The alternatives to privatisation and nationalisation," 12 Sep. 2019 If the Center For American Progress, as an institution, was interested in sponsoring journalism, CAP would’ve sponsored it. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "ThinkProgress Was Always Doomed," 11 Sep. 2019 In an emotional farewell address, with his wife looking on from the gallery, Bercow pleaded for an institution that is taking heavy abuse as frustration with Britain’s interminable EU exit builds — and is likely to take more., "Tuesday was the second time in as many weeks that Johnson has asked for Parliament to allow a fresh election, only to be rebuffed by a unified opposition.," 10 Sep. 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

7 Oct 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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a bell tower

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