Try Our Apps


World Series Quiz


[in-sti-too-shuh n, -tyoo-] /ˌɪn stɪˈtu ʃən, -ˈtyu-/
an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, especially one of a public, educational, or charitable character:
This college is the best institution of its kind.
the building devoted to such work.
a public or private place for the care or confinement of inmates, especially mental patients or other persons with physical or mental disabilities.
Sociology. a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage:
the institution of the family.
any established law, custom, etc.
any familiar, long-established person, thing, or practice; fixture.
the act of instituting or setting up; establishment:
the institution of laws.
  1. the origination of the Eucharist, and enactment of its observance, by Christ.
  2. the investment of a member of the clergy with a spiritual charge.
Origin of institution
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin institūtiōn- (stem of institūtiō). See institute, -ion
Related forms
counterinstitution, noun
noninstitution, noun
reinstitution, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for institution
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These are of her own institution, and form her ecclesiastical discipline.

  • It is too difficult to invent and create an institution, for a purpose, out of nothing.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • After what person, or persons, shall the institution be called?

    The convolvulus Allen Norton
  • Although we speak of marriage as an institution, it is only an imperfect one.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • It sends its roots through every institution and custom of the land.

    Allan Quatermain H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for institution


the act of instituting
an organization or establishment founded for a specific purpose, such as a hospital, church, company, or college
the building where such an organization is situated
an established custom, law, or relationship in a society or community
Also called institutional investor. a large organization, such as an insurance company, bank, or pension fund, that has substantial sums to invest on a stock exchange
(informal) a constant feature or practice: Jones' drink at the bar was an institution
the appointment or admission of an incumbent to an ecclesiastical office or pastoral charge
(Christian theol) the creation of a sacrament by Christ, esp the Eucharist
Derived Forms
institutionary, adjective
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for institution

c.1400, "action of establishing or founding (a system of government, a religious order, etc.)," from Old French institucion "foundation; thing established," from Latin institutionem (nominative institutio) "disposition, arrangement; instruction, education," noun of state from institutus (see institute). Meaning "established law or practice" is from 1550s. Meaning "establishment or organization for the promotion of some charity" is from 1707.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for institution

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for institution

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for institution