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[in-sti-toot, -tyoot] /ˈɪn stɪˌtut, -ˌtyut/
verb (used with object), instituted, instituting.
to set up; establish; organize:
to institute a government.
to inaugurate; initiate; start:
to institute a new course in American literature.
to set in operation:
to institute a lawsuit.
to bring into use or practice:
to institute laws.
to establish in an office or position.
Ecclesiastical. to assign to or invest with a spiritual charge, as of a parish.
a society or organization for carrying on a particular work, as of a literary, scientific, or educational character.
the building occupied by such a society.
  1. an institution, generally beyond the secondary school level, devoted to instruction in technical subjects, usually separate but sometimes organized as a part of a university.
  2. a unit within a university organized for advanced instruction and research in a relatively narrow field of subject matter.
  3. a short instructional program set up for a special group interested in a specialized field or subject.
an established principle, law, custom, or organization.
  1. an elementary textbook of law designed for beginners.
  2. (initial capital letter). Also called Institutes of Justinian. an elementary treatise on Roman law in four books, forming one of the four divisions of the Corpus Juris Civilis.
something instituted.
Origin of institute
1275-1325; Middle English < Latin institūtus past participle of instituere to set, put up, establish, equivalent to in- in-2 + -stitū- (combining form of statū-, stem of statuere to make stand) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
reinstitute, verb (used with object), reinstituted, reinstituting.
uninstituted, adjective
well-instituted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for institute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Alas, I was too ill to institute them myself while it was yet time.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • I sha'n't take anything at the refreshment bar, it reeks of the institute.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • Why did you telegraph the institute folks that you wouldn't accept their offer?

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • That was what he said, but what his colleagues did, was to institute a military inspection or review.

    Hellenica Xenophon
  • If he did not return soon he would advertise, institute a search.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
British Dictionary definitions for institute


verb (transitive)
to organize; establish
to initiate: to institute a practice
to establish in a position or office; induct
foll by in or into. to install (a clergyman) in a church
an organization founded for particular work, such as education, promotion of the arts, or scientific research
the building where such an organization is situated
something instituted, esp a rule, custom, or precedent
Derived Forms
institutor, instituter, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin instituere, from statuere to place, stand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for institute

early 14c., "to establish in office, appoint," from Latin institutus, past participle of instituere "to set up," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + statuere "establish, to cause to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing" (see stet). General sense of "set up, found, introduce" first attested late 15c. Related: Instituted; instituting.


1510s, "purpose, design," from institute (v.). From 1540s as "an established law." The sense of "organization, society" is from 1828, borrowed from French Institut national des Sciences et des Arts, established 1795 to replace the royal academies, from Latin institutum, neuter past participle of instituere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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