[ in-sti-too-shuh-nl-iz-uhm, -tyoo- ]

  1. the system of institutions or organized societies devoted to public, charitable, or similar purposes.

  2. strong attachment to established institutions, as of religion.

  1. the policy or practice of using public institutions to house and care for people considered incapable of caring for themselves.

  2. the belief or policy that a church must maintain institutions of education, welfare, etc., for its members.

Origin of institutionalism

First recorded in 1860–65; institutional + -ism

Other words from institutionalism

  • in·sti·tu·tion·al·ist, noun

Words Nearby institutionalism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use institutionalism in a sentence

  • A third question which must be asked is whether institutionalism in practice makes for unity among Christians, or for division.

    Outspoken Essays | William Ralph Inge
  • Lastly, we must ask whether institutionalism is really a spiritual and moral force.

    Outspoken Essays | William Ralph Inge
  • It is not an accident that America, where institutionalism is weakest, is the happy hunting-ground of religious quacks and cranks.

    Outspoken Essays | William Ralph Inge
  • This is partly perhaps the spirit of spontaneous institutionalism in American democracy, breaking out in the wrong place.

    What I Saw in America | G. K. Chesterton
  • We have spoken of the Master's rebukes of any form of institutionalism which stands in the way of human rights.

    Understanding the Scriptures | Francis McConnell

British Dictionary definitions for institutionalism


/ (ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃənəˌlɪzəm) /

  1. the system of or belief in institutions

Derived forms of institutionalism

  • institutionalist, 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