verb (used with object), in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing.

  1. to make institutional.
  2. to make into or treat as an institution: the danger of institutionalizing racism.
  3. to place or confine in an institution, especially one for the care of mental illness, alcoholism, etc.


  1. (tr; often passive) to subject to the deleterious effects of confinement in an institutiona mental patient who was institutionalized into boredom and apathy
  2. (tr) to place in an institution
  3. to make or become an institution

“to put into institutional life” (usually deprecatory), 1905; see institution. Related: Institutionalized. Earlier (1865) it meant “to make into an institution.”


  1. To place a person in the care of an institution, especially one providing care for the disabled or mentally ill.

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