[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

Related Words for institutionalized


Examples from the Web for institutionalized

Contemporary Examples of institutionalized

Historical Examples of institutionalized

  • 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




(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 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

institutionalized in Medicine




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.