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


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


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

Synonyms for structure

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Some of the critique, like fire safety concerns around the structure’s balloon framing, is valid, experts say., "Saving an icon and ourselves," 25 Apr. 2021 Impressed by the rugged site, Rudolph oriented the new structure toward its New England landscape. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "From the Archive: Architect Paul Rudolph's Unconventional One-Room Addition to a Rustic Home," 24 Apr. 2021 Motorists themselves would drive their cars into and up the structure. Washington Post, "When it opened in 1927, the Capital Garage was the largest U.S. parking structure," 24 Apr. 2021 The structure almost was demolished once when it was owned by SNET, but preservationists won out. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "A historic synagogue in downtown Hartford will become a new event space. Here’s what the owner wants to do, and what it looks like now," 23 Apr. 2021 Not only does the handwoven design of this egg chair exude vacation vibes, but the web-like structure can also be put to use for string lights, as one reviewer pointed out. Olivia Hanson, Better Homes & Gardens, "These Outdoor Egg Chairs Sell Out Constantly—Here’s Where You Can Still Find Them," 23 Apr. 2021 Residents of the ancient town of Mastaura probably used the oval structure for sports and gladiator fights. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Ancient Turkey, Gladiators Fought at This Colosseum-Like Amphitheater," 23 Apr. 2021 But an even larger factor is the insular nature of the Heat’s management and ownership structure. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Should Heat be able to acknowledge that some games just mean more?," 22 Apr. 2021 Subsequently, last November, Louisville's landmarks and preservation districts commission voted to approve individual landmark designation for the structure, preventing it from being torn down. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "A legal appeal may complicate Omni's ability to demolish Louisville's Odd Fellows Building," 22 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Further, businesses can structure learning and development around open innovation and complement it with hands-on practical projects. Nitin Rakesh, Forbes, "Why Organizations Must Reinvent Their Talent Strategy And Embrace Open Innovation," 20 Apr. 2021 This mission and her belief that women should be empowered through having contraceptives at their fingertips drove Pelletier to structure the company and design a product that meets these needs. Monica Haider, Forbes, "This Woman Raised Over $400 Million For A Hormone-Free Contraceptive Gel So That Women Feel Empowered," 9 Apr. 2021 One of the trickiest issues Harris will face is how to structure aid to the countries, given the distrust the U.S. has for some of their leaders, as well as convincing Congress to appropriate the billions of dollars Biden wants in the first place., "For her first major task as VP, Kamala Harris is handed a thorny diplomatic mission," 6 Apr. 2021 And, any concern with polarization must proceed from the recognition that deep inequities structure American society. Daniel Kreiss, Wired, "Polarization Isn't America's Biggest Problem—or Facebook's," 5 Apr. 2021 That first call lasted 50 minutes as the pair pored over every detail of the potential signing: where Pato would fit tactically and technically, how to structure his contract and his future in Orlando on and off the pitch. Julia Poe,, "Brazilian star Pato: Gut, God led to signing with Orlando City, ‘best choice of my life’," 27 Mar. 2021 Anthony Delfre, a lawyer who helps structure the finances for the Kassoufs’ projects, said in an interview that work is expected to begin in earnest by mid-April. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Cleveland Landmarks Commission OKs renovation to add apartments in Liberty Textile building in Warehouse District," 26 Mar. 2021 Leaders can structure interactions that connect people to the work and to each other. Christopher Washington, Forbes, "How Nonprofit CEOs And Board Chairs Can Cultivate Justice, Equity, Diversity And Inclusion," 17 Mar. 2021 Record labels, both major and indie, are still figuring out how to turn profits online and how to structure their arrangements with TikTok, in particular. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "TikTok’s effect on the music industry," 24 Feb. 2021

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


1560, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for structure


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

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Time Traveler for structure

Time Traveler

The first known use of structure was in 1560

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Statistics for structure

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Structure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for structure



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



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

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


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


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

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