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 structuring (audio) , ˈstrək-​shriŋ \

Definition of structure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form into or according to a structure

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Other Words from structure


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

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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 Phoenix will have to approve a permit to allow the structure. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "Phoenix will open convention center for homeless heat relief. Is it enough to save lives?," 29 May 2020 In Minneapolis, demonstrations turned violent Wednesday night with stores looted and 17 structure fires, officials said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Several police heads across nation condemn force used before Floyd death," 29 May 2020 Get behind a tree, car, fence, or put some kind of sturdy object or structure between you and the moose. Bailey Berg, Anchorage Daily News, "Hiking tips and etiquette: What to know before tackling the trails," 28 May 2020 Protests turned violent on Tuesday and Wednesday night with some protesters setting fires to buildings and structures. CBS News, "Minneapolis police chief apologizes to George Floyd's family, says his department contributed to city's "deficit of hope"," 28 May 2020 Fire crews responded to about 30 intentionally set blazes during the protests, including at least 16 structure fires, and multiple fire trucks were damaged by rocks and other projectiles, the fire department said. Doug Glass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Angry protests spread to other cities after George Floyd's death," 28 May 2020 While the surface of the material looks even and smooth to the eye, different areas will expose different faces of the underlying crystal structure at the atomic level. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New material releases hydrogen from water at near-perfect efficiency," 27 May 2020 The structure has been wrapped in yellow plastic since the end of March. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "The Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan monument will get even rustier. That’s the point, says city," 27 May 2020 Once it is established, the tree is very hardy and requires little pruning, though younger trees need some shearing to develop shape and structure. Southern Living, "Jacaranda Blooms Are Warm-Weather Signs of Spring," 27 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In response to the laws, private equity firms have structured their health care investments with physicians as owners, but in name only, McNamara said. NBC News, "Private equity firms now control many hospitals, ERs and nursing homes. Is it good for health care?," 13 May 2020 The boys and girls tournaments are initially structured in bracket pools. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Native American Basketball Invitational and Educational Youth Summit in Phoenix canceled," 17 Apr. 2020 The Bike Workout: 25-Minute Intermediate Intervals This 25-minute routine is structured according to effort level. Lauren Bedosky,, "7 Stationary Bike Workouts for a Spin Routine You Can Do Anywhere," 7 Apr. 2020 But because of the way some of the contracts are structured, the unexpected drop has forced many of them to hand cash over to banks even as many ask governments for multibillion euro taxpayer bailouts. Siddharth Philip, Fortune, "British Airways parent warns of drop in passengers for ‘several years’ as it switches from furloughs to layoffs," 29 Apr. 2020 Most liberals don’t have strong feelings about how the economy ultimately ought to be structured and why—capitalism seems mostly fine and difficult to rework anyhow, so some patches and tweaks here and there ought to do. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "It’s Time to Build a Better Political Culture," 29 Apr. 2020 The answers are rooted in how emissions forecasts are developed, the way our energy system is structured and how the pandemic is causing an economic free fall that differs from previous recessions. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Why CO2 Isn’t Falling More During a Global Lockdown," 24 Apr. 2020 The way late July and early August are currently structured in the NFL just doesn’t work anymore. Dan Wiederer,, "Why Matt Nagy’s new approach to the preseason has its perks — and its challenges," 20 Aug. 2019 The way Amazon’s business is structured might also be more amenable to union actions like work stoppages than its retail behemoth predecessor, Walmart, is. Rani Molla, Vox, "Why Amazon pays warehouse employees to tweet about their jobs," 8 Aug. 2019

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

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Structure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for structure


How to pronounce structure (audio)

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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