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 The rulers who rebuilt or repurposed these structures are long gone, but evidence of their ambitions remains—both above and deep below the bustling metropolis. National Geographic, "A HERITAGE of architecture in Jerusalem," 14 Nov. 2019 Jill Enomoto, vice president of Roastery Design & Concept for Starbucks, said designers played off the building's natural light and structure. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "World's largest Starbucks opens Friday in Chicago. What to know about the Reserve Roastery," 13 Nov. 2019 The hot springs owners, as well as cave experts, worry that five wells RMR plans to drill for a baseline study could irreparably damage the fragile and complex geothermal structures that feed the hot springs. Thomas Phippen, The Know, "Glenwood hot springs owners fear mining expansion could irreparably damage centuries-old cave, spring," 13 Nov. 2019 On Wednesday morning in Fort Lauderdale, an army of over 300 construction workers were hastily transforming some skeletal steel structures peaking into the sky and massive amounts of dirt into a state-of-the-art soccer stadium. Andrew Boryga,, "Beckham’s Inter Miami soccer team nears stadium completion in Fort Lauderdale," 13 Nov. 2019 Neighbors opposed the environmental impact of a new gas station and asked the city to retain the corner — which once had two structures — for housing or another small business. Rebecca Lurye,, "Senior housing project proposed at vacant lot next to Parkville Stop & Shop," 13 Nov. 2019 The ability of synthetic cannabinoid makers to skirt drug laws, often by continuously altering the molecular structure ever so slightly, has contributed to its low cost and wide availability. Rudy Sanchez,, "‘Synthetic marijuana’ is a dangerous misnomer that people need to stop using," 12 Nov. 2019 Ajayan says the x-ray and electron-microscope data support the predicted structure. W. Wayt Gibbs, Science | AAAS, "The next graphene? Shiny and magnetic, a new form of pure carbon dazzles with potential," 12 Nov. 2019 Burstall remembers the entire structure would shake along with the beat—and there was one party where the DJ booth was set up on a scissor left, so the DJ could ascend and survey the party from up high at their will. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "The Photography Book Looking Back on the Carefree ’90s Fashion of the Sydney Rave Scene," 12 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some of Vertesi’s concerns are technical: how to structure scientific observations across multiple generations; how to read and preserve data from a half-century-old spacecraft. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019 And finally, decide how to legally structure your business. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Have a road map: Starting a business a formidable task," 28 Oct. 2019 But, because it is being shared on social media platforms, the team also needs to evaluate how to structure the content differently, depending on each platform’s specific nuances. Karthik Srinivasan, Quartz India, "Deepika Padukone needs to have a chat with her public relations team," 18 Oct. 2019 Hogan had told the board’s general counsel to work on a memorandum of understanding with the chief administrative law judge on how to structure the payments, saying existing guidelines were not sufficient. Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, "Hogan: Maryland will offer payments to five wrongly convicted men by Oct. 31," 16 Oct. 2019 Peter Kenyon is hoping to structure a new £300m payment plan to takeover Newcastle from current owner Mike Ashley., "Peter Kenyon Confident of £300m Newcastle Takeover Despite Payment Structure Hurdle," 28 Sep. 2019 The challenge then becomes how to structure employment contracts to get the most out of these high-performing employees. Omar Abbosh, Quartz at Work, "How 5G will reinvent “working from home”," 16 Sep. 2019 Tax law experts say these settlements appear to be structured to enable the companies to deduct the payments from their taxable corporate income – which would reduce the cost to the companies. USA Today, "How companies turn government settlements into tax write-offs," 12 Sep. 2019 Burrow was, and still is, the type of quarterback Herman wants to structure an offense around. Nick Moyle,, "LSU QB Joe Burrow, Texas coach Tom Herman go way back," 4 Sep. 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

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Structure.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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