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[in-sti-too-shuh-nl-ahyz, -tyoo-] /ˌɪn stɪˈtu ʃə nlˌaɪz, -ˈtyu-/
verb (used with object), institutionalized, institutionalizing.
to make institutional.
to make into or treat as an institution:
the danger of institutionalizing racism.
to place or confine in an institution, especially one for the care of mental illness, alcoholism, etc.
Also, especially British, institutionalise.
Origin of institutionalize
First recorded in 1860-65; institutional + -ize
Related forms
institutionalization, noun
reinstitutionalization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for institutionalized
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The great argument for the day school is that it is not well that children be "institutionalized."

    The Deaf Harry Best
  • institutionalized habits, mosaics of reactions to forgotten situations, fall like shadows on the life of to-day.

    Taboo and Genetics

    Melvin Moses Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis Mary Blanchard
  • Therefore society can no longer depend upon taboo standards crystallized into institutionalized forms as a means of control.

    Taboo and Genetics

    Melvin Moses Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis Mary Blanchard
  • The original drama which re-enacts an emotionally important experience is institutionalized into a cult.

  • That this has been the deliberate policy of institutionalized Religion no candid student can deny.

British Dictionary definitions for institutionalized


(transitive; often passive) to subject to the deleterious effects of confinement in an institution: a mental patient who was institutionalized into boredom and apathy
(transitive) to place in an institution
to make or become an institution
Derived Forms
institutionalization, institutionalisation, noun
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 institutionalized



"to put into institutional life" (usually deprecatory), 1905; see institution. Related: Institutionalized. Earlier (1865) it meant "to make into an institution."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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institutionalized in Medicine

institutionalize in·sti·tu·tion·a·lize (ĭn'stĭ-tōō'shə-nə-līz', -tyōō'-)
v. in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·es
To place a person in the care of an institution, especially one providing care for the disabled or mentally ill.

in'sti·tu'tion·al·i·za'tion (-shə-nə-lĭ-zā'shən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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