Pronunciation: (in"sti-tOO'shun, -tyOO'-), [key]
1. an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, esp. one of a public, educational, or charitable character: This college is the best institution of its kind.
2. the building devoted to such work.
3. a public or private place for the care or confinement of inmates, esp. mental patients or other disabled or handicapped persons.
4. Sociol.a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.
5. any established law, custom, etc.
6. any familiar, long-established person, thing, or practice; fixture.
7. the act of instituting or setting up; establishment: the institution of laws.
8. Eccles.
a. the origination of the Eucharist, and enactment of its observance, by Christ.
b. the investment of a member of the clergy with a spiritual charge.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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