Universities, banks, and hospitals are all institutions. Until you arrived at the bank, you'd forgotten that financial institutions were closed for the holiday. Thank goodness for the ATM!

The noun institution also refers to a long held custom or practice in society. Even if your parents divorced when you were young, you might strongly believe in the institution of marriage. Or you might believe that once you enter the institution of marriage, your next stop will probably be a mental institution. Institution can also describe the act of putting something in place. The institution of new traffic rules — green means stop and red means go — caused a bit of confusion.

Primary Meanings of institution

a custom that for a long time has been an important feature of some group or society
the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new
Full Definitions of institution

n a custom that for a long time has been an important feature of some group or society

“the institution of marriage”
“the institution of slavery”
“he had become an institution in the theater”
the biblical institution whereby a man must marry the widow of his childless brother in order to maintain the brother's line
Type of:
custom, tradition
a specific practice of long standing

n an organization founded and united for a specific purpose

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medical institution
an institution created for the practice of medicine
financial institution, financial organisation, financial organization
an institution (public or private) that collects funds (from the public or other institutions) and invests them in financial assets
an institution that issues something (securities or publications or currency etc.)
an institution set up to provide help to the needy
an institution created to conduct business
faith, organized religion, religion
an institution to express belief in a divine power
vicariate, vicarship
the religious institution under the authority of a vicar
educational institution
an institution dedicated to education
academy, honorary society
an institution for the advancement of art or science or literature
broadcasting company
a company that manages tv or radio stations
bureau de change
(French) an establishment where you can exchange foreign money
auto company, car company
a company that makes and sells automobiles
dot com, dot com company, dot-com
a company that operates its business primarily on the internet using a URL that ends in `.com'
drug company, pharma, pharmaceutical company
a company that makes and sells pharmaceuticals
East India Company
an English company formed in 1600 to develop trade with the new British colonies in India and southeastern Asia; in the 18th century it assumed administrative control of Bengal and held it until the British army took over in 1858 after the Indian Mutiny
electronics company
a company that makes and sells electronic instruments
film company
a company that makes, advertises, and distributes movies
food company
a company that processes and sells food
furniture company
a company that sells furniture
mining company
a company that owns and manages mines
shipping company
a company that provides shipping services
steel company
a company that makes and sells steel
subsidiary, subsidiary company
a company that is completely controlled by another company
transportation company
a company providing transportation
a medical establishment run by a group of medical specialists
extended care facility
a medical institution that provides prolonged care (as in cases of prolonged illness or rehabilitation from acute illness)
a medical institution where sick or injured people are given medical or surgical care
a British financial system in which a bank or a post office transfers money from one account to another when they receive authorization to do so
clearing house
a central collection place where banks exchange checks or drafts; participants maintain an account against which credits or debits are posted
lending institution
a financial institution that makes loans
community chest
a charity supported by individual subscriptions; defrays the demands on a community for social welfare
soup kitchen
a place where food is dispensed to the needy
a company that markets merchandise
oil company
a company that sells oil
packaging company, packaging concern
a company that packages goods for sale or shipment or storage
pipeline company
a company that operates oil pipelines for the oil industry
printing business, printing company, printing concern
a company that does commercial printing
corporate investor
a company that invests in (acquires control of) other companies
takeover target, target company
a company that has been chosen as attractive for takeover by a potential acquirer
white knight
a company that is a friendly acquirer in a takeover
Christian church, church
one of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship
Hebraism, Jewish religion, Judaism
Jews collectively who practice a religion based on the Torah and the Talmud
Hindooism, Hinduism
the religion of most people in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal
religion adhering to the teaching of Lao-tzu
a religion represented by the many groups (especially in Asia) that profess various forms of the Buddhist doctrine and that venerate Buddha
the group of initiated Sikhs to which devout orthodox Sikhs are ritually admitted at puberty; founded by the tenth and last Guru in 1699
Church of Scientology, Scientology
a new religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1955 and characterized by a belief in the power of a person's spirit to clear itself of past painful experiences through self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment
the native religion and former ethnic cult of Japan
established church
the church that is recognized as the official church of a nation
religious order, religious sect, sect
a subdivision of a larger religious group
followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices
Ld., Ltd., limited company
a company that is organized to give its owners limited liability
holding company
a company with controlling shares in other companies
a company or agency that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
livery company
one of the chartered companies of London originating with the craft guilds
open shop
a company whose workers are hired without regard to their membership in a labor union
closed shop
a company that hires only union members
union shop
a company allowed to hire nonunion workers on the condition that they will join the union within a specified time
an educational institution for children too young for elementary school
an educational institution
an educational institution's faculty and students
an institution of higher education created to educate and grant degrees; often a part of a university
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
an academy that gives annual awards for achievements in motion picture production and performance
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
an academy that gives annual awards for outstanding achievements in television
French Academy
an honorary group of French writers and thinkers supported by the French government
National Academy of Sciences
an honorary American society of scientists created by President Lincoln during the American Civil War
Royal Academy, Royal Academy of Arts
an honorary academy in London (founded in 1768) intended to cultivate painting and sculpture and architecture in Britain
Royal Society, Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge
an honorary English society (formalized in 1660 and given a royal charter by Charles II in 1662) through which the British government has supported science
a large and diverse institution of higher learning created to educate for life and for a profession and to grant degrees
central bank
a government monetary authority that issues currency and regulates the supply of credit and holds the reserves of other banks and sells new issues of securities for the government
stock company
a company whose capital is represented by stock
joint-stock company
a company (usually unincorporated) which has the capital of its members pooled in a common fund; transferable shares represent ownership interest; shareholders are legally liable for all debts of the company
an institution supported by an endowment
the financial institution that dispenses cash in automated teller machines and collects a fee from the bank that issued the credit card
nondepository financial institution
a financial institution that funds their investment activities from the sale of securities or insurance
bank, banking company, banking concern, depository financial institution
a financial institution that accepts deposits and channels the money into lending activities
Federal Home Loan Bank System
the central credit system for thrift institutions
trust company, trust corporation
an organization (usually with a commercial bank) that is engaged as a trustee or fiduciary or agent in handling trust funds or estates of custodial arrangements or stock transfers or related services
record company
a company that makes and sells musical recordings
mover, moving company, public mover, removal company, removal firm
a company that moves the possessions of a family or business from one site to another
think factory, think tank
a company that does research for hire and issues reports on the implications
a company in the business of shipping freight
Type of:
organisation, organization
a group of people who work together

n an establishment consisting of a building or complex of buildings where an organization for the promotion of some cause is situated

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a Nazi concentration camp for Jews in southwestern Poland during World War II
a Nazi concentration camp for Jews created in northwestern Germany during World War II
a Nazi concentration camp for Jews in World War II that was located in central Germany
a concentration camp for Jews created by the Nazis near Munich in southern Germany
a former prison in London notorious for its unsanitary conditions and burnt down in riots in 1780; a new prison was built on the same spot but was torn down in 1902
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home, nursing home, rest home
an institution where people are cared for
orphanage, orphans' asylum
a public institution for the care of orphans
penal facility, penal institution
an institution where persons are confined for punishment and to protect the public
a penal institution (especially on board a ship)
a penal institution (often for forced labor)
correctional institution
a penal institution maintained by the government
penal colony
a penal institution where prisoners are exiled (often located on an island from which escape is difficult or impossible)
Type of:
a public or private structure (business or governmental or educational) including buildings and equipment for business or residence

n a hospital for people suffering from mental illnesses or disorders

asylum, insane asylum, mental home, mental hospital, mental institution, psychiatric hospital
Bedlam, booby hatch, crazy house, cuckoo's nest, funny farm, funny house, loony bin, madhouse, nut house, nuthouse, sanatorium, snake pit
pejorative terms for an insane asylum
Type of:
hospital, infirmary
a health facility where patients receive treatment

n the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new

creation, foundation, founding, initiation, innovation, instauration, introduction, origination
authorship, paternity
the act of initiating a new idea or theory or writing
Type of:
beginning, commencement, start
the act of starting something

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