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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 The works jump off the wall into three dimensions in the box structures that Judd fabricated with the help of his father (an executive who also happened to be an experienced carpenter) and painted a blazing, inorganic cadmium red. Kyle Chayka, The New Republic, "The Minimized Life," 15 May 2020 Other tactics include forging shipping documents to disguise the origin of goods, changing a ship’s flag frequently to avoid detection and using complex ownership structures to mask beneficial owners to avoid enforcement actions. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "U.S. Agencies Issue Sanctions Compliance Guidance for Maritime Industry," 15 May 2020 Bayer plans on expanding the structure’s existing 30,000 square feet of space to about 50,000 by adding additional floors, creating a location for dining and office space. William Thornton |, al, "Bayer Properties to redevelop Hardwick Steel Plant along Rotary Trail," 14 May 2020 Alsup imposed the order last month as a response to fires blamed on PG&E power lines that have killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 20,000 structures in recent years. J.d. Morris,, "PG&E seeks relief from judge’s order on power line inspections, tree trimming," 14 May 2020 An attorney for the homeowner, Larry English, released security camera video showing a man walking briefly through the open-framed structure. CBS News, "Men accused in Ahmaud Arbery shooting hire attorneys," 14 May 2020 Czarnowski is also producing temporary medical structures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Chicago firm doubles down on Legacy West," 13 May 2020 Instead, American forces rely on a partnership between the Pentagon and commercial airlines so that in times of national emergency there is a set organization and command structure in place. Sarah Rose, Washington Post, "During the Vietnam War, the women who served on special Pan Am flights flew into a war zone to transport soldiers. Why has their role been forgotten?," 13 May 2020 The Benefits of Schedules Children rely on adults to create structure. Mark Bertin, New York Times, "The Extra Burden for Parents of Children With Special Needs," 13 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about structure

Time Traveler for structure

Time Traveler

The first known use of structure was in 1560

See more words from the same year

Statistics for structure

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Structure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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