To construct things is to build them. You might construct a sand castle the next time you're at the beach, or you might construct a theory about why your brother always manages to get away with breaking the rules.

The verb construct comes from the Latin word constructus, meaning β€œto heap up.” If you work in construction you're in the business of building things, and you probably construct buildings, roads, municipal parks, and other large permanent structures. Students of psychology are familiar with the noun form of construct, which refers to an abstract concept. Much of psychological theory is founded on constructs β€” like gender, morality, and intelligence.

Primary Meanings of construct

make by combining materials and parts
draw with suitable instruments and under specified conditions
create by organizing and linking ideas, arguments, or concepts
an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances
create by linking linguistic units
Full Definitions of construct

v make by combining materials and parts

“Some eccentric constructed an electric brassiere warmer”
build, make
be engaged in building
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customise, customize
make according to requirements
construct a revetment
construct with drywall
build locks in order to facilitate the navigation of vessels
build of or with wattle
frame, frame up
construct by fitting or uniting parts together
rebuild, reconstruct
build again
build with groins
construct with girders and beams such that only one end is fixed
erect, put up, raise, rear, set up
construct, build, or erect
build (a road) from logs laid side by side
channelise, channelize
make a channel for; provide with a channel
Type of:
create, make
make or cause to be or to become

v put together out of artificial or natural components or parts

fabricate, manufacture
produce on a large scale
make into a raft
Type of:
make by shaping or bringing together constituents

v draw with suitable instruments and under specified conditions

construct an equilateral triangle”
Type of:
delineate, describe, draw, line, trace
make a mark or lines on a surface

v create by organizing and linking ideas, arguments, or concepts

construct a proof”
construct an argument”
Type of:
create by mental act, create mentally
create mentally and abstractly rather than with one's hands

v reassemble mentally

reconstruct, retrace
etymologise, etymologize
construct the history of words
Type of:
conjecture, hypothecate, hypothesise, hypothesize, speculate, suppose, theorise, theorize
to believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds

n an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances

concept, conception
an incorrect conception
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conceptualisation, conceptuality, conceptualization
an elaborated concept
a general inclusive concept
a general concept that marks divisions or coordinations in a conceptual scheme
regulation, rule
a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior
attribute, dimension, property
a construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished
abstract, abstraction
a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
the concept that something has a magnitude and can be represented in mathematical expressions by a constant or a variable
division, part, section
one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole
all of something including all its component elements or parts
law, natural law
a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society
law, law of nature
a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature
lexicalized concept
a concept that is expressed by a word (in some particular language)
hypothesis, possibility, theory
a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena
a concept whose truth can be proved
linguistic rule, rule
(linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice
one of the ten divisions into which bowling is divided
an abstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature
a way of conceiving something
a traditional notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable
form, kind, sort, variety
a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality
a specific (often simplistic) category
category name
a general category of things; used in the expression `in the way of'
limitation, restriction
a principle that limits the extent of something
guideline, guidepost, rule of thumb
a rule or principle that provides guidance to appropriate behavior
cy pres, cy pres doctrine, rule of cy pres
a rule that when literal compliance is impossible the intention of a donor or testator should be carried out as nearly as possible
working principle, working rule
a rule that is adequate to permit work to be done
character, lineament, quality
a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something
characteristic, feature
a prominent attribute or aspect of something
feature, feature of speech
(linguistics) a distinctive characteristic of a linguistic unit that serves to distinguish it from other units of the same kind
something that is conceived or that exists independently and not in relation to other things; something that does not depend on anything else and is beyond human control; something that is not relative
a personified abstraction that teaches
a special abstraction
a discrete amount of something that is analogous to the quantities in quantum theory
any distinct quantity contained in a polynomial
numerical quantity
a quantity expressed as a number
a quantity upon which a mathematical operation is performed
variable, variable quantity
a quantity that can assume any of a set of values
constant, constant quantity, invariable
a quantity that does not vary
a quantity (such as the mean or variance) that characterizes a statistical population and that can be estimated by calculations from sample data
mathematical product, product
a quantity obtained by multiplication
amount, sum, total
a quantity obtained by the addition of a group of numbers
one of the quantities in a mathematical proportion
the first part or section of something
an intermediate part or section
a final part or section
high point
the most enjoyable part of a given experience
component, constituent, element, factor, ingredient
an abstract part of something
a single undivided whole
a whole formed by a union of two or more elements or parts
complex, composite
a conceptual whole made up of complicated and related parts
divine law
a law that is believed to come directly from God
a basic truth or law or assumption
all-or-none law
(neurophysiology) a nerve impulse resulting from a weak stimulus is just as strong as a nerve impulse resulting from a strong stimulus
principle, rule
a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system
Archimedes' principle, law of Archimedes
(hydrostatics) the apparent loss in weight of a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid
Avogadro's hypothesis, Avogadro's law
the principle that equal volumes of all gases (given the same temperature and pressure) contain equal numbers of molecules
Bernoulli's law, law of large numbers
(statistics) law stating that a large number of items taken at random from a population will (on the average) have the population statistics
Benford's law
a law used by auditors to identify fictitious populations of numbers; applies to any population of numbers derived from other numbers
Bose-Einstein statistics
(physics) statistical law obeyed by a system of particles whose wave function is not changed when two particles are interchanged (the Pauli exclusion principle does not apply)
Boyle's law, Mariotte's law
the pressure of an ideal gas at constant temperature varies inversely with the volume
Coulomb's Law
a fundamental principle of electrostatics; the force of attraction or repulsion between two charged particles is directly proportional to the product of the charges and inversely proportional to the distance between them; principle also holds for magnetic poles
Dalton's law, Dalton's law of partial pressures, law of partial pressures
(chemistry and physics) law stating that the pressure exerted by a mixture of gases equals the sum of the partial pressures of the gases in the mixture; the pressure of a gas in a mixture equals the pressure it would exert if it occupied the same volume alone at the same temperature
distribution law
(chemistry) the total energy in an assembly of molecules is not distributed equally but is distributed around an average value according to a statistical distribution
equilibrium law, law of chemical equilibrium
(chemistry) the principle that (at chemical equilibrium) in a reversible reaction the ratio of the rate of the forward reaction to the rate of the reverse reaction is a constant for that reaction
Fechner's law, Weber-Fechner law
(psychophysics) the concept that the magnitude of a subjective sensation increases proportional to the logarithm of the stimulus intensity; based on early work by E. H. Weber
Fermi-Dirac statistics
(physics) law obeyed by a systems of particles whose wave function changes when two particles are interchanged (the Pauli exclusion principle applies)
Charles's law, Gay-Lussac's law, law of volumes
(physics) the density of an ideal gas at constant pressure varies inversely with the temperature
Henry's law
(chemistry) law formulated by the English chemist William Henry; the amount of a gas that will be absorbed by water increases as the gas pressure increases
Hooke's law
(physics) the principle that (within the elastic limit) the stress applied to a solid is proportional to the strain produced
Hubble law, Hubble's law
(astronomy) the generalization that the speed of recession of distant galaxies (the red shift) is proportional to their distance from the observer
Kepler's law, Kepler's law of planetary motion
(astronomy) one of three empirical laws of planetary motion stated by Johannes Kepler
Kirchhoff's laws
(physics) two laws governing electric networks in which steady currents flow: the sum of all the currents at a point is zero and the sum of the voltage gains and drops around any closed circuit is zero
law of averages
a law affirming that in the long run probabilities will determine performance
law of constant proportion, law of definite proportions
(chemistry) law stating that every pure substance always contains the same elements combined in the same proportions by weight
law of diminishing returns
a law affirming that to continue after a certain level of performance has been reached will result in a decline in effectiveness
law of effect
(psychology) the principle that behaviors are selected by their consequences; behavior having good consequences tends to be repeated whereas behavior that leads to bad consequences is not repeated
law of equivalent proportions, law of reciprocal proportions
(chemistry) law stating that the proportions in which two elements separately combine with a third element are also the proportions in which they combine together
Newton's law of gravitation, law of gravitation
(physics) the law that states any two bodies attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them
Dalton's law, law of multiple proportions
(chemistry) law stating that when two elements can combine to form more than one compound the amounts of one of them that combines with a fixed amount of the other will exhibit a simple multiple relation
law of mass action
(chemistry) the law that states the following principle: the rate of a chemical reaction is directly proportional to the molecular concentrations of the reacting substances
law of thermodynamics
(physics) a law governing the relations between states of energy in a closed system
Mendel's law
(genetics) one of two principles of heredity formulated by Gregor Mendel on the basis of his experiments with plants; the principles were limited and modified by subsequent genetic research
Newton's law, Newton's law of motion, law of motion
one of three basic laws of classical mechanics
Ohm's law
electric current is directly proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance; I = E/R
Pascal's law, Pascal's law of fluid pressures
pressure applied anywhere to a body of fluid causes a force to be transmitted equally in all directions; the force acts at right angles to any surface in contact with the fluid
Pauli exclusion principle, exclusion principle
no two electrons or protons or neutrons in a given system can be in states characterized by the same set of quantum numbers
Mendeleev's law, periodic law
(chemistry) the principle that chemical properties of the elements are periodic functions of their atomic numbers
Planck's law
(physics) the basis of quantum theory; the energy of electromagnetic waves is contained in indivisible quanta that have to be radiated or absorbed as a whole; the magnitude is proportional to frequency where the constant of proportionality is given by Planck's constant
Planck's radiation law
(physics) an equation that expresses the distribution of energy in the radiated spectrum of an ideal black body
a hypothetical possibility, circumstance, statement, proposal, situation, etc.
the physically discrete element that Darwin proposed as responsible for heredity
framework, model, theoretical account
a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process
conjecture, speculation
a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)
assumption, supposal, supposition
a hypothesis that is taken for granted
principle of relativity
(physics) a universal law that states that the laws of mechanics are not affected by a uniform rectilinear motion of the system of coordinates to which they are referred
Stevens' law, Stevens' power law, power law
(psychophysics) the concept that the magnitude of a subjective sensation increases proportional to a power of the stimulus intensity
Weber's law
(psychophysics) the concept that a just-noticeable difference in a stimulus is proportional to the magnitude of the original stimulus
(mathematics) a quantity expressed as a sum or difference of two terms; a polynomial with two terms
a theory that social and cultural events are determined by history
sound law
a law describing sound changes in the history of a language
linguistic universal, universal
(linguistics) a grammatical rule (or other linguistic feature) that is found in all languages
grammatical rule, rule of grammar
a linguistic rule for the syntax of grammatical utterances
morphological rule, rule of morphology
a linguistic rule for the formation of words
chukka, chukker
(polo) one of six divisions into which a polo match is divided
frame, inning
(baseball) one of nine divisions of play during which each team has a turn at bat
(tennis) a division of play during which one player serves
bout, round, turn
(sports) a division during which one team is on the offensive
first period
the first division into which the play of a game is divided
second period
the second division into which the play of a game is divided
final period
the final division into which the play of a game is divided
one of two divisions into which some games or performances are divided: the two divisions are separated by an interval
(ice hockey) one of three divisions into which play is divided in hockey games
(football, professional basketball) one of four divisions into which some games are divided
(cricket) the division of play during which six balls are bowled at the batsman by one player from the other team from the same end of the pitch
Type of:
idea, thought
the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about

v create by linking linguistic units

construct a sentence”
construct a paragraph”
Type of:
create by mental act, create mentally
create mentally and abstractly rather than with one's hands

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