in·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ized | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shnə-ˌlīzd How to pronounce institutionalized (audio) , -shə-nə-ˌlīzd \

Definition of institutionalized

1a : created and controlled by an established organization institutionalized housing institutionalized religion
b : established as a common and accepted part of a system or culture institutionalized beliefs and practices
2a : placed in the care of a specialized institution At first, the researchers … confine their studies to serial killers, mass murderers, institutionalized sociopaths …

First Known Use of institutionalized

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of institutionalized was in 1869

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Cite this Entry

“Institutionalized.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce institutionalized (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of institutionalized

: created and controlled by an established organization
: established as a common and accepted part of a system or culture
used to describe a person who has been living in an insitution (such as a prison) for a very long time and is no longer able to live an independent life in the outside world


variants: or chiefly British institutionalised \ ˌin(t)-​stə-​ˈt(y)ü-​shnəl-​ˌīzd, -​shən-​ᵊl-​ How to pronounce institutionalised (audio) \

Medical Definition of institutionalized

: accustomed so firmly to the care and routine of an institution as to find independent life in the outside world difficult or unmanageable Many prisoners who only need a drug or alcohol program become more institutionalized with each mandatory return.— Robert L. Johnson, Undoing Time, 2001

More from Merriam-Webster on institutionalized

Nglish: Translation of institutionalized for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of institutionalized for Arabic Speakers

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