Definition of establish in English:



  • 1Set up (an organization, system, or set of rules) on a firm or permanent basis.

    ‘the British established a rich trade with Portugal’
    • ‘Protocols were established to ensure fair and equitable computer access for those who wanted it.’
    • ‘He said it was important to establish efficient communications systems between the islands.’
    • ‘This family firm, which was established more than 40 years ago, provides a wide range of goods and services.’
    • ‘A seven-member board was established to oversee the start-up and operation of slots.’
    • ‘He took a job with an Italian law firm, establishing its London office while at the same time building his own firm.’
    • ‘The firm was established by Richard King and a number of partners in 1978.’
    • ‘We've had a marvellous few days and the family ties have been firmly established now.’
    • ‘The museum was established for a particular purpose… design.’
    • ‘In 1960 Robert Best established the firm in London, and it is now run by his son Patrick.’
    • ‘Kibbutz communities initially were established as part of the pioneer movement to bring Jews from around the world to Israel.’
    • ‘Medicaid programs are administered at the state level, but they must follow guidelines established by the federal government.’
    • ‘The Commission was established to ensure effective follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992.’
    • ‘It will be the first licensed international brokerage firm to be established in Abu Dhabi.’
    • ‘Beatrice, a former director of a market research company, had just established her own firm.’
    • ‘Air quality guidelines are established to protect public health.’
    • ‘When a firm chooses to establish a subsidiary, internal as well as external conditions are taken into account.’
    • ‘He left the security of permanent employment to establish a sports centre in Melbourne.’
    • ‘Many Irish-based firms are now establishing their own corporate programmes.’
    • ‘The company has quit Victory House, in Bank Street, its home since the firm was established 27 years ago, to move into its new base.’
    set up, start, begin, get going, put in place, initiate, institute, form, found, create, bring into being, inaugurate, organize, lay the foundations of, build, construct, install, plant
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    1. 1.1 Initiate or bring about (contact or communication)
      ‘the two countries established diplomatic relations’
      • ‘The core purpose of the program is to establish connections and communication between the participating schools.’
      • ‘Use alumni groups, friends, and relatives to establish contacts at the companies you are most interested in to help you navigate through the application process.’
      • ‘What I am trying to do now is to establish contacts with various Bulgarian cultural and educational organisations and institutions.’
      • ‘But once contact had been established, the information given was both speedy and accurate.’
      • ‘He called on non-government organisations to establish contact with the families of the infected children and find a way to help them.’
      • ‘The hardest part of getting information may be establishing an initial connection.’
      • ‘Perhaps we should also consider using the Internet to establish closer contact with the community.’
      • ‘Contacts have already been established with farming organizations in the county.’
      • ‘Others are visiting the country for short periods to establish contact with the criminal community.’
      • ‘Most important was to establish contact with the audience and not to lose it.’
      • ‘However, contact has been established with a number of key officials.’
      • ‘No we do not have a separate team to establish communication with international organisations.’
      • ‘Contact has been established with a guest player.’
      • ‘The British Government is already beginning to establish contacts with the organization.’
      • ‘Subsequently, I visited each community to establish personal contact with the deaf people and their families.’
      • ‘I am also grateful to my sister for her liaison with indigenous education colleagues, and for establishing some of my contacts in Adelaide.’
      • ‘Some teachers would make an initial effort to establish communication and then would lessen their efforts.’
      initiate, instigate, set in motion, put in place, institute, inaugurate, originate, invent, form, fashion, generate
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  • 2Achieve permanent acceptance or recognition for.

    ‘the principle of the supremacy of national parliaments needs to be firmly established’
    ‘he had established himself as a film star’
    • ‘Over a period of 20 years, Donatella established herself as a sculptress in the international arena of visual arts.’
    • ‘Boll, who established himself as one of the foremost writers of his generation, was born in Cologne in 1917.’
    • ‘During that time she has established herself as an accomplished broadcaster, capable of dealing with the most delicate and difficult news stories.’
    • ‘The life-size cardboard cut-out policemen helped the firm establish itself on the other side of the Atlantic.’
    • ‘His scientific credentials were established on the basis of his anatomical discoveries.’
    • ‘He has established himself as one of the most exciting country blues performers of our time.’
    • ‘The gold was won by Christian Olsson, the Swede, who has firmly established himself as Jonathan Edwards's heir.’
    • ‘The group's cheerleaders claim this will establish the firm as one of Britain's most financially successful e-tailers.’
    • ‘After leaving West Point in 1915, Eisenhower quickly established himself as a proficient trainer of young recruits.’
    • ‘He has firmly established himself as a young goalkeeper with a big future.’
    • ‘While dinner etiquette was never formal, a firm routine had been established for following dinner.’
    • ‘Since joining Dale in July 1999, Atkinson has played more than 50 first-team games - establishing himself as a firm crowd favourite.’
    • ‘He has established himself as a compelling concert performer and a stellar contributor to world-wide music festivals.’
    • ‘With no formal training but packed pockets of passion and enthusiasm, Lee has established himself as an award winning restaurateur to be reckoned with.’
    • ‘He has been with us for two years and has established himself as a much-loved figure.’
    • ‘The company quickly established a strong reputation and has won numerous national and international awards for its wines.’
    • ‘Eddie's love of the stage saw him performing and compèring shows in which he established himself as a stand-up comedian.’
    • ‘They rapidly established themselves as one of the few bands outside Louisiana who can capture the unmistakable but elusive sound of Cajun music.’
    • ‘Dionne Warwick has, over an illustrious four-decade career, established herself as an international musical legend.’
    • ‘It's not taken him long to establish himself as a firm favourite with Salford Reds supporters.’
    attain, reach, arrive at
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    1. 2.1 Introduce (a character, set, or location) into a film or play and allow its identification.
      ‘establish the location with a wide shot’
      • ‘At its best, the unobtrusive digital camera allows directors to quickly establish intimacy in character-driven films.’
      • ‘As Tavernier himself points out in one of the extra feature interviews on the DVD, Clouzot is able to establish each character's background and class in a few moments of screen time.’
      • ‘The film works overtime in establishing its setting during the Spanish Civil War, and attempts to turn most of the events in the film into allegorical episodes.’
      • ‘I’m currently working on a script, and I want to have an establishing shot of the exterior of a Chinese restaurant.’
      • ‘The two opening scenes of the film establish a violent world in which human life appears to be valued very little.’
      • ‘The film wastes little time establishing the main characters and their inter-relationships.’
      • ‘Once the premise has been established, the film allows Johnston to revisit four women and catch a sobering glimpse of the different lives he might have led.’
      • ‘A lot more scenes in the tent, with dialogue better establishing the characters' personalities, were shot but later removed for pacing issues.’
      • ‘Finally, the presence of an establishing shot is not necessary to cinematic narration, while its use is traditional its presence is a creative rather than a necessary decision.’
      • ‘The opening shot of the film establishes her as a member of a gipsy community.’
      • ‘Nor does he establish the environments and locations enough to aid the sympathetic process for the viewer.’
      • ‘But ‘Hellboy’ screams of future opportunity now that the character has been established on film.’
  • 3Show (something) to be true or certain by determining the facts.

    [with clause] ‘the police established that the two passports were forgeries’
    • ‘Your testimony and the expert opinion you offer must be connected to the facts already established by admissible evidence.’
    • ‘One should initially establish who is liable for the tax.’
    • ‘There's still very little hard evidence establishing a direct link between counterfeiting and terrorism.’
    • ‘The source of these huge amounts of iron has not yet been established with certainty.’
    • ‘We must now establish who bought the estate and who lived on it through the years till 1700.’
    • ‘The firm's research had established that 75 retailers had requirements for space in York, some of whom would want to come into the city from outside.’
    • ‘Research has firmly established the link between social function and pathological outcomes.’
    • ‘They established to their satisfaction that sheep were able to recognise humans they had become familiar with.’
    • ‘"We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television.’
    • ‘Research firmly establishes a link between a country's increased trade and economic well-being.’
    prove, demonstrate, show, show to be true, show beyond doubt, indicate, signify, signal, display, exhibit, manifest, denote, attest to, evidence, determine, validate, confirm, verify, certify, ratify, corroborate, substantiate, evince, bespeak, constitute evidence of, constitute proof of
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  • 4Bridge
    Ensure that one's remaining cards in (a suit) will be winners (if not trumped) by playing off the high cards in that suit.

    • ‘You now leave him with his trump winner, and establish clubs.’
    • ‘So what if they establish their spades?’


Late Middle English (recorded earlier as stablish): from Old French establiss-, lengthened stem of establir, from Latin stabilire make firm from stabilis (adjective) stable.