American English

Definition of institution noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a large important organization that has a particular purpose, for example, a university or bank an educational/financial, etc. institution the Smithsonian Institution
  2. 2[countable] (usually disapproving) a building where people with special needs are taken care of, for example because they are old or mentally ill a mental institution We want this to be like a home, not an institution.
  3. 3[countable] a custom or system that has existed for a long time among a particular group of people the institution of marriage
  4. 4[uncountable] the act of starting or introducing something such as a system or a law the institution of new safety procedures
  5. 5[countable] (informal) (humorous) a person who is well known because they have been in a particular place or job for a long time You must know him—he's an institution around here!
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: institution