structure

noun
struc·​ture | \ˈstrək-chər \

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, ˈstrək-​shriŋ \

Definition of structure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form into or according to a structure

2 : construct

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Other Words from structure

Noun

structureless \ˈstrək-​chər-​ləs \ adjective
structurelessness \ˈstrək-​chər-​ləs-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms for structure

Synonyms: Noun

building, edifice

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And down south in Los Angeles County, the Woolsey Fire has destroyed 616 structures, with 57,000 still in danger and three fatalities confirmed. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "For Those Grappling With California Wildfires, Dangerous Air Quality Is a New Risk," 16 Nov. 2018 Since then, the monster fire has ripped through 140,000 acres, laid the town of Paradise (population 26,000) to waste, and destroyed more than 10,000 structures. Eliza Barclay, Vox, "Photos: what California’s lethal wildfires look like on the ground," 15 Nov. 2018 Indeed, 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in California history have taken place since 2000, including the Tubbs Fire in the Santa Rosa area last year that destroyed 5,636 structures and killed 22, according to Cal Fire records. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Firefighters Battle Deadly California Wildfires," 12 Nov. 2018 This wildfire, which has been declared the most destructive fire in California’s modern history, has destroyed approximately 7,000 structures, including between 80 and 90% of homes located in Paradise. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "How to Help People Affected by California Wildfires," 12 Nov. 2018 The fire scorched 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) and destroyed 264 structures. Olga R. Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Officials: Power lines ignited fatal blaze in California," 10 Oct. 2018 As of Sunday night, the blaze was 52 percent contained, after burning 35.5 square miles of dry brush and destroying 16 structures. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "California's Holy Fire erupts in dramatic time-lapse video, cooler weather aids firefighters," 13 Aug. 2018 The scientists tasked with understanding how fire destroys structures and devours our possessions need to watch these things burn — in the laboratory, that is. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "How fire scientists see through flames," 27 July 2018 Fissure 8 is one of 22 around Kilauea that have destroyed over 1,000 structures and forced 2,000 people to evacuate. Terray Sylvester And Jolyn Rosa, The Christian Science Monitor, "Scientists brave dangers studying active Hawaii volcano," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Heading into 2020, the basic issue is that Democrats don’t have a strong, Hillary Clinton-esque frontrunner whose presence defines and structures the race. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The Beto O’Rourke 2020 buzz, explained," 20 Nov. 2018 The infection begins in the throat and spreads through the lymphatic vessels, thin tubes structured like blood vessels that carry white blood cells and lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Korin Miller, SELF, "A 23-Year-Old College Student Died From Lemierre Syndrome, a Rare Infection She Thought Was Tonsillitis," 6 Nov. 2018 The whole thing is structured so that viewers can come up, pitch their own channels, and get feedback from the streamers. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The backlash to streamer with a ‘god complex’ reveals a big Twitch taboo," 31 Oct. 2018 Still, for cash-rich Google, the financial penalty—while significant—is potentially less onerous than business changes Brussels has ordered in how Google structures deals between itself and manufacturers. Fox News, "Google is fined $5 billion by EU in Android antitrust case," 2 Oct. 2018 Even more hardcore are the getaways and retreats structured entirely around the idea of temporary internet-free living, with the promise of spiritual enlightenment. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 The idea of a feminized, always-innocent America has become the principle by which the United States has structured many interactions with enemy others. Barbara Cutter, Smithsonian, "The Gruesome Story of Hannah Duston, Whose Slaying of Indians Made Her an American Folk “Hero”," 9 Apr. 2018 Taking on more debt Scott explained the factors which underline the credit rating are the economy in the area, the tax base of the city, financial position, and the way the city structures its debt; all of which has not changed. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "City of Brookfield approves conference center financing, but loses sterling bond rating in the process," 20 June 2018 Zacka’s book is an on-the-ground look at the choices bureaucrats must make every day, and the moral environment that structures those choices. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why Border Patrol agents obey immoral orders," 20 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.

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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

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Statistics for structure

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for structure

The first known use of structure was in 1560

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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 \

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 \

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

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Comments on structure

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