con·​sti·​tute | \ ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce constitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt \
constituted; constituting

Definition of constitute

transitive verb

1 : make up, form, compose 12 months constitute a year. … high school dropouts who constitute a major problem in large city slums.— J. B. Conant
2 : set up, establish: such as
a : enact regulations as are constituted by the government
b : found constitute a provisional government
c(1) : to give due or lawful form to an agreement constituted by writing
(2) : to legally process
3 : to appoint to an office, function, or dignity Legal authority constitutes all magistrates.

Synonyms for constitute


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Examples of constitute in a Sentence

Women constitute 70 percent of the student population at the college. nine players constitute a baseball team
Recent Examples on the Web Homicides also constitute a tiny percent of overall major crime, which last year continued to drop as theft and burglaries fell. New York Times, 15 Nov. 2021 These obstacles, impediments, and bumps in the road constitute a strategic friction for you or your organization—slowing you down and wearing you out. Kris Putnam-walkerly, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 Doing so will constitute a separate crime of destroying evidence in a criminal investigation. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, 11 Nov. 2021 Yet, EVs still constitute only 1% of the total two-wheeler sales in India. Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2021 According to the University of Washington, his writings constitute one of the earliest and most detailed descriptions of the Mongol Empire from a Westerner’s perspective. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Nov. 2021 Children constitute less than 1% of the more than 700,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which notes that not all states report numbers. Hallie Miller,, 5 Nov. 2021 Aerial footage from Dallas police helicopters constitute the majority of the data leak. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 5 Nov. 2021 Because of the testing option, the new White House ruling does not constitute a strict vaccine mandate., 4 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitute.' 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 constitute

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for constitute

Middle English, from Latin constitutus, past participle of constituere to set up, constitute, from com- + statuere to set — more at statute

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Time Traveler for constitute

Time Traveler

The first known use of constitute was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near constitute

constituta pecunia



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Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of constitute

: to make up or form something
: to be the same as something : to be equivalent to something
: to establish or create (an organization, a government, etc.)


con·​sti·​tute | \ ˈkän-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce constitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt \
constituted; constituting

Kids Definition of constitute

1 : to form the whole of Twelve months constitute a year.
2 : to establish or create constitute a new government


transitive verb
con·​sti·​tute | \ ˈkän-stə-ˌtüt, -ˌtyüt How to pronounce constitute (audio) \

Legal Definition of constitute

1 : to appoint to an office or function those who are constituted heirs or named legateesLouisiana Civil Code legal authority constitutes all magistrates
2 : establish, found to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme CourtU.S. Constitution art. I
3a : to put (as an agreement) into required form
b : to qualify as a letter can constitute a will— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al. failure to act may constitute negligence
c : to form the substance or whole of the bonds constituted the entire estate

More from Merriam-Webster on constitute

Nglish: Translation of constitute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of constitute for Arabic Speakers


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