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 One of the goals of the OSIRIS-REx mission is to learn more about the structure and composition of such near-Earth asteroids to help engineers devise methods for diverting or breaking up any such bodies that might one day threaten Earth. William Harwood, CBS News, "Playing tag with an asteroid, NASA probe attempts to collect samples for return to Earth," 20 Oct. 2020 The recycling operation, located about five miles from downtown Los Angeles, has not been fully demolished and remains partially enclosed in a temporary, tent-like structure designed to prevent the release of lead and other toxic pollutants. Tony Barboza Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Court allows Exide to abandon a toxic site in Vernon. Taxpayers will fund the cleanup," 16 Oct. 2020 By analyzing the shape, structure, and spread of the tracks the research team unveiled an intimate portrait of one ancient person’s walk across the landscape, right down to their toes slipping on the slick surface. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Incredible details of 10,000-year-old trek revealed in fossil footprints," 15 Oct. 2020 The assembly process marries a rigid carbon-composite upper structure and body panels with SPA’s steely underpinnings—a bit like what Lotus used to do with fiberglass. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Polestar 1: The World’s Most Beautiful Hybrid Car Has Arrived," 15 Oct. 2020 Venezuela's constitution follows the same basic structure invented by the Founding Fathers of the United States - with an executive branch, a legislature, and a Supreme Court. Fox News, "When court packing goes wrong: Venezuela and other Latin American countries offer sobering reality," 15 Oct. 2020 Information about the structure and functioning of the unit will be announced in early 2021. Zoë Jackson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota awarded grant to review cases for those believed innocent," 9 Oct. 2020 What followed was a thoughtful discussion about the political structure of a nation, the mechanics of the vote, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and what might lie ahead if the referendum was approved. Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, "Chile at the Barricades," 5 Oct. 2020 There's also still a lot of confusion about the new ownership structure. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Amazon's Prime Day highlights the huge stakes ahead for retail," 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bob Duffy, the director of economic development for Oconomowoc, said the city is working to structure a tax incremental financing district plan for implementation of infrastructure. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The former Olympia Resort and Conference Center site could turn into retail, office space and multifamily housing," 22 Oct. 2020 Brookfield for years worked with state officials to bring the land to auction and helped structure the deal's unique financing terms. Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic, "4 bid in controversial auction of state land in Southeast Valley hot spot," 21 Oct. 2020 The Richardson family’s interpretations of time help structure their experiences of Rob’s absence. Samantha N. Sheppard, The Atlantic, "A Gripping Film About Incarceration’s Impact on Families," 17 Oct. 2020 So Facebook has an incentive to structure it as such. Sarah Kopit,, "Disinformation Has Neighbors Fighting in Small-Town America," 9 Oct. 2020 JPMorgan is creating a new advisory group to centralize the bank’s businesses and industry groups and to engage companies and outsiders on how to structure the work. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Capital Note: Bulls & Bullies," 7 Oct. 2020 Republican and Democratic staff coordinated on how to structure the inquiry, and when the committee demanded documents from Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, the letters were signed by members from both sides of the aisle. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Partisan Divisions Hinder House Big Tech Report," 6 Oct. 2020 Economists told the Washington Examiner that Biden will likely structure his arguments around those who are unemployed because of Trump's mishandling of the virus and the lack of aid provided by the federal government in the past few months. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Biden to attack Trump where he's strongest and make the case he's ruined the economy," 29 Sep. 2020 Administrators and staff have had to make myriad adjustments to keep students and themselves safe, all while trying to provide the same level of support and structure the students depend on. Andres Picon,, "‘It’s sunshine’ at San Antonio’s Edgewood ISD as adults with disabilities return to school," 21 Sep. 2020

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

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Structure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 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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