in·sti·tu·tion·al·ize / ˌinstiˈt(y)oōshənlˌīz/ • v. [tr.] 1. establish (something, typically a practice or activity) as a convention or norm in an organization or culture: a system that institutionalizes bad behavior.2. (usu. be institutionalized) place or keep (someone) in a residential institution: these adolescents had more contacts with the police and were charged and institutionalized more often.DERIVATIVES: in·sti·tu·tion·al·i·za·tion / ˌinstiˌt(y)oōshənl-iˈzāshən/ n.