in·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce institution (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of institution

1a : an established organization or corporation (such as a bank or university) especially of a public character financial institutions
b : 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.
c : 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
2 : an act of instituting : establishment

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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 The now-widespread institution of a class in which undergraduates talk about literature didn’t begin to become normal until after the 1960s. Carlo Rotella, Washington Post, "The Meaning of a College Literature Class — During a Pandemic and Always," 20 Oct. 2020 For instance, the proliferation of educational institutions in New England was in part nudged on by state (or colony) and local efforts, such as raising funds for schools or mandating the institution of schools. Fred Bauer, National Review, "How to Revive Family, Community, and Other Resources of Liberty," 12 Oct. 2020 The gift is among the 30 or so largest ever given to an institution of higher education, according to a list kept by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Construction Magnate Gives $300 Million to Alma Mater," 12 Oct. 2020 Thirty years ago tomorrow, the Walker institution of Los Angeles had its modest but ambitious inception. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Walker’s Department Store opened on Broadway 85 years ago," 2 Oct. 2020 The billionaires and hundred-millionaires of New York, along with the rest of the city’s population, supported the institution of this tax. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Mourning the Autumn in New York City That Could Have Been," 29 Sep. 2020 The academy had been closed since the institution of shelter-in-place orders in mid-March. Aidin Vaziri,, "Coronavirus live updates: Eat, pray — SF lets restaurants, churches open doors at 25% capacity," 29 Sep. 2020 In response to financial losses, a number of changes have been made within the institution of the monarchy, including a recruitment freeze and pay freezes, though staff have not been furloughed. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen Will Not Request Extra Funding Following Estimates of a $45 Million Shortfall," 25 Sep. 2020 The Vatican always reported the get-togethers were a chance for the pope to chat informally with Becciu and priests of his diocese on the day the church celebrates the institution of the priesthood. NBC News, "Powerful Vatican Cardinal Becciu resigns amid financial scandal," 25 Sep. 2020

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 2

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Time Traveler for institution

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for institution

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Institution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for institution


How to pronounce institution (audio)

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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