in·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ism | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shnə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce institutionalism (audio) , -shə-nə-ˌli-zəm\

Definition of institutionalism

1 : emphasis on organization (as in religion) at the expense of other factors
2 : public institutional care of disabled, delinquent, or dependent persons
3 : an economic school of thought that emphasizes the role of social institutions in influencing economic behavior

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from institutionalism

institutionalist \ ˌin(t)-​stə-​ˈt(y)ü-​shnə-​list How to pronounce institutionalist (audio) , -​shə-​nə-​list \ noun

Examples of institutionalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

When Will and Tom visit a Veterans Affairs facility in an early scene, Ms. Granik visually underscores the building’s chilly institutionalism yet also reminds you of the people inside it. Debra Granik, New York Times, "Review: ‘Leave No Trace’ Is a Very American Story About Survival," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'institutionalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of institutionalism

1862, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about institutionalism

Share institutionalism

Statistics for institutionalism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for institutionalism

The first known use of institutionalism was in 1862

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on institutionalism Encyclopedia article about institutionalism

Comments on institutionalism

What made you want to look up institutionalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!