[ih-stab-lish-muh nt]
See more synonyms for establishment on
  1. the act or an instance of establishing.
  2. the state or fact of being established.
  3. something established; a constituted order or system.
  4. (often initial capital letter) the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority (usually preceded by the): The Establishment believes exploring outer space is worth any tax money spent.
  5. (often initial capital letter) the dominant group in a field of endeavor, organization, etc. (usually preceded by the): the literary Establishment.
  6. a household; place of residence including its furnishings, grounds, etc.
  7. a place of business together with its employees, merchandise, equipment, etc.
  8. a permanent civil, military, or other force or organization.
  9. an institution, as a school, hospital, etc.
  10. the recognition by a state of a church as the state church.
  11. the church so recognized, especially the Church of England.
  12. Archaic. a fixed or settled income.

Origin of establishment

1475–85; 1920–25 for def 4; establish + -ment
Related formsnon·es·tab·lish·ment, noun, adjectivere·es·tab·lish·ment, nounsu·per·es·tab·lish·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for establishment

Contemporary Examples of establishment

Historical Examples of establishment

  • We should encourage the establishment of American steamship lines.

  • But there, as well as in the House, the Irish Establishment was doomed.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • There was no such person connected with their establishment.

  • Her establishment was not only diminished, but her servants reduced to half-pay.


    Edward J. Dent

  • Mrs. Hallam was waiting and watching for some one to enter or to leave that establishment.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for establishment


  1. the act of establishing or state of being established
    1. a business organization or other large institution
    2. the place where a business is carried on
  2. the staff and equipment of a commercial or other organization
  3. the approved size, composition, and equipment of a military unit, government department, business division, etc, as formally promulgated
  4. any large organization, institution, or system
  5. a household or place of residence
  6. a body of employees or servants
  7. (modifier) belonging to or characteristic of the Establishment; orthodox or conservativethe establishment view of history


  1. the Establishment a group or class of people having institutional authority within a society, esp those who control the civil service, the government, the armed forces, and the Church: usually identified with a conservative outlook
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

Word Origin and History for establishment

late 15c., "settled arrangement," also "income, property," from establish + -ment. Meaning "established church" is from 1731; Sense of "place of business" is from 1832. Meaning "social matrix of ruling people and institutions" is attested occasionally from 1923, current use from 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper