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The word establish and its family (disestablish, disestablished, disestablishes, disestablishing, disestablishment, established, establishes, establishing, establishment, establishments) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

Video footage: Triple Header - Two bighorn rams head-butt each other to establish dominance in the social order. One tries to get advantage by faking a retreat. The dominant ram mates with the ewes.
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Definition of the verb establish

What does establish mean as a doing word?

Establish is one of the top 1000 most common verbs. It is used mostly in informational writing, being one of the top 100 most common verbs in informational written English.View more statistics!

verb - inflections: established | establishing | establishes

  1. set up or found
  2. set up or lay the groundwork for
  3. establish the validity of something, as by an example, explanation or experiment
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, how-extraction]This indicates how she did it
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, to be]This indicates him to be the thief
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, wh-complement clause]This indicates whether he is the thief
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, wh-infinitive clause]This indicates how to do it
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, what-extraction]This indicates what he should do
      [Cause] [Verb] [Topic, not sentential clause]This indicates it
      [Cause] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, how-extraction]This indicates to us how it happended
      [Cause] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, that-complement clause, not tensed]This indicates to us that they had stolen money
      [Cause] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, wh-complement clause]This indicates to me whether they did it
      [Cause] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, what-extraction]This indicates to me what he is

      Indicate Verbs (with the same syntax): affirm, confirm, demonstrate, disclose, prove, reaffirm, reveal, show, verify.

    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of establish: demonstrate / prove / shew / show
    • more generic words: affirm / confirm / corroborate / substantiate / support / sustain = establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
    • more specific terms:
  4. institute, enact, or establish
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of establish: lay down / make
    • more generic words: create / make = make or cause to be or to become
    • more specific words: mark / set = establish as the highest level or best performance
  5. bring about
    • example: The trompe l'oeil-illusion establishes depth
    • lexical domain: Creation - verbs of sewing, baking, painting, performing
    • synonym of establish: give
    • more generic words: create / make = make or cause to be or to become
    • more specific words:
      • introduce = bring in or establish in a new place or environment
      • pacify = fight violence and try to establish peace in
  6. place
  7. build or establish something abstract
    • lexical domain: Creation - verbs of sewing, baking, painting, performing
    • synonym of establish: build
    • more generic words: create / make = make or cause to be or to become
  8. use as a basis for; found on
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme 1] on [Theme 2]We based our plans on his information
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme 1] on [Theme 2, accusative with -ing]They based their plans on him getting in on time
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme 1] on [Theme 2, possessive with -ing]They based their plan on his seizing the base
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme 1] on [Theme 2, wh-complement clause]They based their decision on whether he happened to come or not

      Verbs of Basing (with the same syntax): base, build, construe, format, found, ground.

    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of establish: base / found / ground
    • more specific word: build = found or ground

Alternative definition of the verb establish


  1. [transitive] To make stable or firm; to confirm.
  2. [transitive] To form; to found; to institute; to set up in business.
  3. [transitive] To appoint, as officers, laws, regulations, etc.; to enact; to ordain.
  4. [transitive] To prove and cause to be accepted as true; to establish a fact; to demonstrate.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for establish

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewA Course in the Theory of Groups (2012)

by Derek Robinson

The next point to establish is that H = Co(H). Let 1 # p e Co(H). Since p commutes with each of t, a, t, it permutes each of the sets of ...

Google previewPublic Funds, Private Provision (2011)

The Role of the Voluntary Sector by Josephine Rekart

Particularly difficult to establish is the history of public funding for the voluntary sector. No data are available on how private and non-profit agencies have been linked to the public or government sector, either in the flow of funds or in the ...

Google previewGlobal Liberalism and Its Casualties (2008)

by Jean Kachiga

The case we seek to establish is that against the generalized state of trade competition articulated by the paradigm of global liberalism, whose fundamentals refuse to take into consideration the evident casualties it occasions. Because the ...

Google previewGlobal Dimensions of Public Administration and Governance (2015)

A Comparative Voyage by Jos Raadschelders, Eran Vigoda-Gadot

Organized land reform groups have taken on technical assistance to orient land use on settlements in a way that respects environmental objectives and have sought to establish means to legally challenge land titles irrespective of the ...

Google previewThe Cosmic-chemical Bond (2013)

Chemistry from the Big Bang to Planet Formation by David Arnold Williams, T. W. Hartquist

Interstellar Environments The first point to establish is the 4 Chapter 1 The Astronomical Background: Gas and Dust Chapter.

Google previewDictionary of Global Climate Change (2008)

strategies for climate change detection; * establish advisory groups to prepare guidance material on the construction of metadata and record blending; * maintain and enhance climate observing programmes; * establish a dataset certification ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Law (1913)

Consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases, and Maxims, and an Exposition of the Principles of Law : Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence by William Caldwell Anderson

ESTABLISH.' To settle certainly, fix permanently, what was before uncertain, doubtful, or disputed; as, to establish a boundary line.5 To set or fix firmly, settle or found permanently, erect something.0 Authority to establish a thing contains ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for establish

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Usage statistics about establish

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb establish:

spoken English16.88%written English83.12% imaginative writing10.31%informational writing89.69%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb establish:


Comparison of usage frequency between the verb establish and its most common antonym:


Photos about establish

If you need images about establish for an article or a report, you can download stock photos at a very small price:
Small photo of Knoxville, Tennessee - Aug 22, 2015: James White's Fort, also known as White's Fort, was established in 1791 when James White donated the land to establish what would later become Knoxville. More...

Video language resources about establish

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See also the pronunciation examples of establish!

Quotes about establish

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects (James Madison)
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Scrabble value of E1S1T1A1B3L1I1S1H4

The value of this 9-letter word is 14 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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