from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To set up; found. See Synonyms at found1.
  • transitive v. To bring about; generate: establish goodwill in the neighborhood.
  • transitive v. To place or settle in a secure position or condition; install: They established me in my own business.
  • transitive v. To make firm or secure.
  • transitive v. To cause to be recognized and accepted: a discovery that established his reputation.
  • transitive v. To introduce and put (a law, for example) into force.
  • transitive v. To prove the validity or truth of: The defense attorneys established the innocence of the accused.
  • transitive v. To make a state institution of (a church).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make stable or firm; to confirm.
  • v. To form; to found; to institute; to set up in business.
  • v. To appoint, as officers, laws, regulations, etc.; to enact; to ordain.
  • v. To prove and cause to be accepted as true; to establish a fact; to demonstrate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make stable or firm; to fix immovably or firmly; to set (a thing) in a place and make it stable there; to settle; to confirm.
  • transitive v. To appoint or constitute for permanence, as officers, laws, regulations, etc.; to enact; to ordain.
  • transitive v. To originate and secure the permanent existence of; to found; to institute; to create and regulate; -- said of a colony, a state, or other institutions.
  • transitive v. To secure public recognition in favor of; to prove and cause to be accepted as true
  • transitive v. To set up in business; to place advantageously in a fixed condition; -- used reflexively

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make stable, firm, or sure; appoint; ordain; settle or fix unalterably.
  • To put or fix on a firm basis; settle stably or fixedly; put in a settled or an efficient state or condition; inceptively, set up or found: as, his health is well established; an established reputation; to establish a person in business; to establish a colony or a university.
  • To confirm or strengthen; make more stable or determinate.
  • To confirm by affirmation or approval; sanction; uphold.
  • To make good; prove; substantiate; show to be valid or well grounded; cause to be recognized as valid or legal; cause to be accepted as true or as worthy of credence; as, to establish one's claim or one's case; to establish a marriage or a theory.
  • To fix or settle permanently, or as if permanently: with a reflexive pronoun.
  • To settle, as property.
  • In systematic biol., to give technical publication to; fix by publication in the nomenclatorial sense. See publication, 5.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. build or establish something abstract
  • v. place
  • v. institute, enact, or establish
  • v. establish the validity of something, as by an example, explanation or experiment
  • v. use as a basis for; found on
  • v. bring about
  • v. set up or lay the groundwork for
  • v. set up or found


Middle English establishen, from Old French establir, establiss-, from Latin stabilīre, from stabilis, firm; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English establissen, Old French establiss-, stem of some of the conjugated forms of establir, (Modern French établir), from Latin stabiliō, from stabilis ("firm, steady, stable"). (Wiktionary)


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