in·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ized ˌin(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-sh(ə-)nə-ˌlīzd How to pronounce institutionalized (audio)
: created and controlled by an established organization
institutionalized housing
institutionalized religion
: established as a common and accepted part of a system or culture
institutionalized beliefs and practices
: placed in the care of a specialized institution
At first, the researchers … confine their studies to serial killers, mass murderers, institutionalized sociopaths …Marilyn Stasio

Examples of institutionalized in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stalin’s system proved unable to survive without him, despite having an institutionalized ruling party. Stephen Kotkin, Foreign Affairs, 18 Apr. 2024 For the Bedouin, to reach across to Jewish Israelis means surmounting the indignities of institutionalized mistreatment. Chantal Da Silva, NBC News, 28 Mar. 2024 Building up those muscles will require more institutionalized dialogue with the private sector, including in fast-moving situations when companies have to make decisions with long-term consequences, such as foreign acquisitions or operational reorganizations. Jami Miscik, Foreign Affairs, 11 Mar. 2024 In its promise of providing crucial financial support to nations on the front lines of climate change, the Loss and Damage Fund provides hope for climate vulnerable nations to weather the challenges of today, while recovering from institutionalized inequities—and secure a flourishing tomorrow. Daphne Ewing-Chow, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Allana Haynes, Baltimore Sun, 7 Feb. 2024 The African National Congress, the country's governing political party, has long compared Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank to its own history under its apartheid regime of white minority rule, when there was racial segregation and institutionalized discrimination. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, 26 Jan. 2024 Apartheid was an institutionalized system that discriminated against non-whites and ensured South Africa was ruled by the minority white population from 1948 till the early 1990s. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Dec. 2023 Recidivism rates have remained stubbornly high, and despite many efforts in too many directions, rehabilitation in California prisons remains more a scattershot option than a institutionalized plan. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'institutionalized.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of institutionalized was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near institutionalized

Cite this Entry

“Institutionalized.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British institutionalised
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on institutionalized

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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