To institutionalize someone is to send them to a place where they can be taken care of. Institutionalize also means that something is part of the system. If men are paid more than women, then gender bias has been institutionalized.

The verb institutionalize is usually used to talk about committing people to hospitals, nursing homes, or other facilities where they will live and be taken care of in some way. There's another meaning of the word that means "to establish as a regular way of doing things." In this case, a teacher might institutionalize the tradition of ordering pizza for the class once a month; in other words, pizza parties would become a permanent, official part of the school year.

Definitions of institutionalize
  1. verb
    cause to be admitted; of persons to an institution
    synonyms: charge, commit, institutionalise, send
    see moresee less
    hospitalise, hospitalize
    admit into a hospital
    type of:
    move from one place to another
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week