structure

noun
struc·​ture | \ ˈstrək-chər How to pronounce structure (audio) \

Definition of structure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action of building : construction
2a : something (such as a building) that is constructed
b : something arranged in a definite pattern of organization a rigid totalitarian structure— J. L. Hess leaves and other plant structures
3 : manner of construction : makeup Gothic in structure
4a : the arrangement of particles or parts in a substance or body soil structure molecular structure
b : organization of parts as dominated by the general character of the whole economic structure personality structure
c : coherent form or organization tried to give some structure to the children's lives
5 : the aggregate of elements of an entity in their relationships to each other the structure of a language

structure

verb
structured; structuring\ ˈstrək-​chə-​riŋ How to pronounce structuring (audio) , ˈstrək-​shriŋ \

Definition of structure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form into or according to a structure
2 : construct

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from structure

Noun

structureless \ ˈstrək-​chər-​ləs How to pronounce structureless (audio) \ adjective
structurelessness \ ˈstrək-​chər-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce structurelessness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for structure

Synonyms: Noun

building, edifice

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of structure in a Sentence

Noun

They studied the compound's molecular structure. The film had a simple narrative structure. the structure of a plant the social structure of a college campus changes to the company's power structure The structure was damaged by fire. Children need a lot of structure in their lives.

Verb

She structured the essay chronologically.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

By late Monday night, a force of 400 firefighters had brought the fire under control, and French officials deemed the cathedral’s massive limestone structure safe from collapse. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "Fire Ravages Notre Dame Cathedral," 15 Apr. 2019 Each three-to-four story structure contains work and living spaces and can withstand extreme temperatures, dust, and solar radiation. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Is This Inflatable City What Life Would Look Like on the Moon?," 11 Apr. 2019 The focus, many critics say, should be on working with the rest of the religious community to change traditional structures in a way that respects Islamic law and creates lasting change. Asma Uddin, Teen Vogue, "On Muslim Women's Day, Women-Only Mosques Are About Much More Than Prayer," 27 Mar. 2019 This structure can make who-supplies-what a bit confusing. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "ARM challenges Intel in PCs with Deimos and Hercules chips," 16 Aug. 2018 When a goshiwon caught fire last year in Seoul, the dorm-like facility didn't even sprinklers because current safety standards are not applied retroactively to older structures. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Samsung's 'Firevase' Is a Smashing Fire Extinguisher," 28 Mar. 2019 Each season of Outlander thus far has been loosely based on one book, but there's a chance moving forward that the writers will deviate from that structure. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Outlander Season 6: Everything We Know So Far," 23 Mar. 2019 Find inspiration in stunning Moorish structures like Le Jardin Secret before wandering through Marrakech's famous food market. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "The 10 Best Vacations You Can Take With Your Tax Refund," 18 Mar. 2019 There is an institutional structure that doesn’t allow that kind of independence. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen Allegedly Vetoed Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's Plan to Be "Entirely Independent"," 17 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Time is an especially important structuring factor for feminism, as is history. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "On the so-called generational divide in the #MeToo movement," 20 Feb. 2018 Yet given the struggles of students in urban school districts, no proposal should be easily dismissed — so the question remains about whether the portfolio idea might be structured in ways that advance societal goals. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What’s really going on in Indiana’s public schools," 12 July 2018 Life at Casa Padre is grim: the boys get two hours outside per day (one structured, one free), and sleep five in four-person rooms, according to MSNBC and the Post. Emma Scornavacchi, The New Republic, "“Effectively, these kids are incarcerated.”," 14 June 2018 For instance, a two-dimensional space could be threaded by fields that, when structured in the right way, generate an additional dimension of space. George Musser, Scientific American, "What Is Spacetime?," 8 May 2018 In the past months, Trump has been counseled by some friends that structuring the White House in a similar fashion might suit his style better than tasking all oversight to a single chief of staff. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Kelly cedes control to new faces amid latest Trump tumult," 11 Apr. 2018 Centro has spent thousands of PID property tax dollars on fundraisers, mixers and award shows for the Alliance, which is structured in its bylaws to be dominated by downtown’s biggest businesses, hotels and property owners, the records show. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Downtown nonprofit spent thousands of tax dollars to entertain, lobby," 24 Feb. 2018 Andersen alleges that Merritt Farms, Kimbark, MacGillivray, Ray and/or Hanauer structured a 99-year lease in an attempt to avoid Andersen's right of first refusal. Bryce Alderton, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, "Businesses remain open at shuttered Hotel Laguna," 10 Jan. 2018 That light’s color tells you something about how its origin atom is structured: the way that its nucleus and electrons interact. Sophia Chen, WIRED, "These Physicists Watched a Clock Tick for 14 Years Straight," 4 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of structure

Noun

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for structure

Noun

Middle English, from Latin structura, from structus, past participle of struere to heap up, build — more at strew

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about structure

Statistics for structure

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for structure

The first known use of structure was in 1560

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for structure

structure

noun

English Language Learners Definition of structure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the way that something is built, arranged, or organized
: the way that a group of people are organized
: something (such as a house, tower, bridge, etc.) that is built by putting parts together and that usually stands on its own

structure

verb

English Language Learners Definition of structure (Entry 2 of 2)

: to arrange or organize (something) in a particular way

structure

noun
struc·​ture | \ ˈstrək-chər How to pronounce structure (audio) \

Kids Definition of structure

1 : something built or arranged in a definite way He entered a small brick structure. We studied leaves and other plant structures.
2 : the manner in which something is built, arranged, or organized the structure of the body

structure

noun
struc·​ture | \ ˈstrək-chər How to pronounce structure (audio) \

Medical Definition of structure

1 : something (as an anatomical part) arranged in a definite pattern of organization
2a : the arrangement of particles or parts in a substance or body molecular structure
b : organization of parts as dominated by the general character of the whole personality structure
3 : the aggregate of elements of an entity in their relationships to each other

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on structure

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret plot to overthrow a government

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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