[in-sti-too-shuh-nl-ahyz, -tyoo-]

verb (used with object), in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing.

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, in·sti·tu·tion·al·ise.

Origin of institutionalize

First recorded in 1860–65; institutional + -ize
Related formsin·sti·tu·tion·al·i·za·tion, nounre·in·sti·tu·tion·al·i·za·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for institutionalize

Contemporary Examples of institutionalize

  • Her parents were told to institutionalize her, but thankfully, they bucked the conventional advice.

  • Like Carver, Borlaug then sought to institutionalize his breakthroughs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Growth Stocks

    The Daily Beast

    October 17, 2014

  • Therefore, any impulse to institutionalize the exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood will be a catastrophe.

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    Coup by Acclamation?

    Hussein Ibish

    July 4, 2013

British Dictionary definitions for institutionalize




(tr; often passive) to subject to the deleterious effects of confinement in an institutiona mental patient who was institutionalized into boredom and apathy
(tr) to place in an institution
to make or become an institution
Derived Formsinstitutionalization or 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

Word Origin and History for institutionalize

"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

Medicine definitions for institutionalize




To place a person in the care of an institution, especially one providing care for the disabled or mentally ill.
Related formsin′sti•tu′tion•al•i•zation (-shə-nə-lĭ-zāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.