- the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority: The Establishment believes exploring outer space is worth any tax money spent.
- the dominant group in a field of endeavor, organization, etc.: the literary Establishment.
OTHER WORDS FROM establishmentnon·es·tab·lish·ment, noun, adjectivere·es·tab·lish·ment, nounsu·per·es·tab·lish·ment, noun
Words nearby establishment
What does establishment mean?
Establishment commonly refers to the official start or founding of something, such as a law, business, or other organization, as in It has been 200 years since the establishment of this great nation.
It is the noun form of the verb establish, which has many meanings but most commonly means to found, institute, or bring into being.
Things that have been established are called establishments, especially businesses, as in I try to buy from local establishments whenever possible.
Establishment is also used more specifically to refer collectively to the existing power structure in a society and its dominant institutions, as in That kind of radical thinking is frowned upon by the establishment. This use is often negative. It can also be used in a similar way to refer to the dominant group in a particular field, as in the medical establishment. In both of these cases, Establishment is often capitalized.
Where does establishment come from?
The first records of establishment come from the late 1400s. It is the noun form of the verb establish, which comes from the Old French establir, from the Latin stabilīre, meaning “to make firm.” This comes from the Latin stabilis, which means “stable” and is the basis of the word stable.
The word establishment usually applies to things that are stable, lasting, and often permanent. The establishment of a law is its official adoption. The establishment of an organization is its founding.
When establishment is used to refer to a company, it often means a small business—like the kind that has Established 1992 on its sign or front window to show how long it’s been in business.
When people talk about the Establishment, they’re referring to the powers that be—the established institutions and authorities. When used in this way, it’s most often used negatively to criticize such powers. This sense of the word is often used more narrowly to refer to the dominant group in a particular field, as in the political establishment or the literary establishment. Such uses are not necessarily negative. Establishment can also be used as an adjective to describe related things, as in establishment thinking.
Much more specifically, establishment can refer to a country’s recognition of a church as the official state church. People who support this are called establishmentarians. Those who want church and state to be separate are called disestablishmentarians. Those who oppose this separation are called antidisestablishmentarians, and their opposition is called antidisestablishmentarianism (which is a famously long word). Glad we’ve got that established!
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to establishment?
- establish (verb)
- nonestablishment (noun)
- reestablishment (noun)
- superestablishment (noun)
What are some synonyms for establishment?
What are some words that share a root or word element with establishment?
What are some words that often get used in discussing establishment?
How is establishment used in real life?
The word establishment is very common and used in many contexts. When it refers to the powers that be, it is often used negatively.
To get a real feel of the campus eat a meal in the student cafeteria and visit local establishments around campus.
— College Advisor (@Consult4College) November 19, 2010
This year we are marking 100 years since the establishment of the League of Nations, the first modern multilateral institution and a direct predecessor of the United Nations. The International Labour Organization @ilo is also marking its centenary.#Multilateralism100 #Geneva pic.twitter.com/7cc244z10M
— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) December 24, 2019
Slowly and quizzically, establishment thinkers are just now popping up their heads to entertain the notion that this is not a story of partisan business as usual.
But we can't see land anymore.
We've drifted too far from shore
— 5'7" Black Male (@absurdistwords) March 17, 2018
Try using establishment!
Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym for the Establishment?
A. the powerless
B. the powers that be
C. the dominant institutions
D. the authorities
How to use establishment in a sentence
He wouldn’t have taken those positions if he didn’t think they were viable as priorities with the party establishment.
If my employees had more money, I reasoned, they’d have more money to spend at those same establishments.How we can save small business from coronavirus-induced extinction|matthewheimer|September 10, 2020|Fortune
They’ve championed a surveillance ordinance and the establishment of a privacy advisory commission that would vet technology and its impacts before being considered by the City Council.Morning Report: A Questionable Stat That’s Guiding Reopening|Voice of San Diego|September 9, 2020|Voice of San Diego
Meanwhile, Kennedy’s endorsers include establishment heavyweights such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Today’s Elections In Massachusetts Are Another Big Test For The Progressive Movement|Nathaniel Rakich (email@example.com)|September 1, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
You can visit establishments like Axis Nightclub and Level Dining Lounge.
Satirists occupy a perilous position—to skewer dogma and cant, and to antagonize the establishment while needing its protection.
Satirists are reliant ultimately on the very establishment they mock.
Two factors made Hiram Revels especially interesting to the Washington establishment.The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate|Philip Dray|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Ironically, the play deals with the ‘management’ of information by the Establishment.Harry’s Daddy, and Diana’s ‘Murder’: Royal Rumors In a New Play|Tom Sykes|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Before his writing days, London used the Oakland establishment to conduct his studies.
Mrs. Wurzel was quite right; they had been supplied, regardless of cost, from Messrs. Rochet and Stole's well-known establishment.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
We had half a dozen passengers to Ferrara; for the rest of the way, I had this extensive traveling establishment to myself.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
On the establishment of the Empire Berthier, like many another, received the reward for his faithfulness to Napoleon.Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison
If schooling is a training in expression and communication, college is essentially the establishment of broad convictions.The Salvaging Of Civilisation|H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
Orlean had secured a position in a ladies' tailoring establishment at five dollars and fifty cents a week, and there he went.The Homesteader|Oscar Micheaux
British Dictionary definitions for establishment (1 of 2)
- a business organization or other large institution
- the place where a business is carried on