checks and balances

plural noun

Definition of checks and balances 

: a system that allows each branch of a government to amend or veto acts of another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much power

Examples of checks and balances in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Critics say the new system undermines impartiality and could lead to one-man rule with limited checks and balances. Washington Post, "Erdogan inaugurates Turkey’s powerful executive presidency," 9 July 2018 If the Republicans control one branch of government and the Democrats another, the proper course is using the constitutional powers of checks and balances. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "How Democrats Can Over-Promise Like Trump," 11 May 2018 However, two administrative reforms within the bill concerning the National Election Commission and the National Election Bureau could centralize PiS’s control over elections and further weaken democratic checks and balances in Poland. Kamil Marcinkiewicz, Washington Post, "Democratic elections in Poland face a new threat," 11 Jan. 2018 Critics say the new system undermines impartiality and could lead to one-man rule with limited checks and balances. Zeynep Bilginsoy, Fox News, "Erdogan inaugurates Turkey's powerful executive presidency," 10 July 2018 Critics say the new system undermines impartiality and could lead to one-man rule with limited checks and balances, especially with a weakened judiciary and parliament. Zeynep Bilginsoy, The Seattle Times, "Erdogan names Cabinet for Turkish presidency with new powers," 9 July 2018 Nicaragua ought to be a lesson for Guatemalans and the U.S. The checks and balances to contain Mr. Ortega were in place a decade ago. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Russia in Central America, Again," 8 July 2018 The changes include giving the executive and legislative branches greater control of the judiciary, which opponents say could weaken the democratic system of checks and balances. BostonGlobe.com, "EU panel question if Poland’s overhaul of justice system violates democratic standards," 26 June 2018 The changes include giving the executive and legislative branches greater control over the judiciary, which opponents say could weaken the democratic system of checks and balances. Washington Post, "EU ministers seek answers from Poland over justice policies," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'checks and balances.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of checks and balances

1787, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near checks and balances

checkroom

checkrow

checkrower

checks and balances

check sheet

check side

checkstones

Statistics for checks and balances

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for checks and balances

The first known use of checks and balances was in 1787

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More Definitions for checks and balances

checks and balances

noun

English Language Learners Definition of checks and balances

: a system in which the different parts of an organization (such as a government) have powers that affect and control the other parts so that no part can become too powerful

checks and balances

noun plural
checks and bal·anc·es | \-ˈba-lən-səz\

Legal Definition of checks and balances 

: the powers (as judicial review, the presidential veto, and the congressional override) conferred on each of the three branches of government by which each restrains the others from exerting too much power — see also separation of powers

More from Merriam-Webster on checks and balances

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about checks and balances

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