I'm asking mostly in the context of living Latin and trying to figure out how to say things like "I decided," "I started a blog," "I set up an organization," "I instituted a policy," and so on, for all of which some version of statuó seems appropriate.

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Excerpted from Döderlein's Handbook of Latin Synonymes:

Instituere; Instaurare; Restituere; Restaurare. Instituere means to establish a profane, instaurare, a sacred, or honorable, or generally important institution, such as sacrifices, sacred games, wars and battles. Hence is instituere itself a usual, instaurare, a solemn, select expression. In the same manner restituere is distinguished from restaurare.

Destinare; Obstinare; Decernere; Statuere; Constituere. 1. Destinare and obstinare denote forming a resolution as a psychological, whereas decernere and statuere as a political, act. 2. Destinare means to form a decided resolution, by which a thing is set at rest; obstinare, to form an unalterable resolution, whereby a man perseveres with obstinacy and doggedness. 3. Decernere denotes the final result of a formal consultation, or, at least, of a deliberation approaching the nature and seriousness of a collegial discussion; statuere, to settle the termination of an uncertain state, and constituere is the word employed, if the subject or object of the transaction is a multitude. Cic. Fr. Tull. Hoc judicium sic expectatur, ut non unæ rei statui, sed omnibus constitui putetur.

I've also heard condere in reference to organizations and websites, e.g. Nuperrime situm/sedem ad linguam Latinam pertinentem aliquot homines in rete universali condiderunt.

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    Hmm. I like Döderlein but I'm always hesitant to take him as the last word. For example, in Letters to Atticus 47 (III.1), Cicero writes Intellexi ad iter id quod constitui nihil mihi optius cadere posse quam ut tu me quam primum consequare, and neither he nor Atticus is a multitude. Mar 2, 2016 at 12:26
  • Good point. Neither does his note on decernere seem to apply to uses of that word referring to a simple decision by one person, e.g. Liv. 2.45 "reliquam aetatem a republica procul habendam decrevi." Perhaps, then, we should take these distinctions as applying only where these words differ in meaning from the rest. (And unfortunately no clues are given as to how often they differ.)
    – fpsvogel
    Mar 2, 2016 at 15:25
  • After poking around Smith's Copious and Critical (man does Google books suck on a phone) I'm beginning to suspect that statuo has a sense of putting something down and constituo has a sense of putting something down and fixing it in place. This would certainly fit with the way prefixes work in Latin verbs, and with the meanings of "con-". However this is at the moment pure conjecture. Will add citations when am home. Mar 3, 2016 at 0:10

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