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 But this drive for innovation must be matched with strict scrutiny — checks and balances at all levels — to ensure that the science upon which products are based and developed is strong and objective. Anand Kumar, STAT, 9 May 2022 Political analyst Tayao said the country's constitution and systems of checks and balances are robust enough to prevent another Marcos Sr-style dictatorship. Veejay Villafranca For Cnn, CNN, 6 May 2022 The country was built on a system of checks and balances intended to protect the interests of the minority and ensure no despot could run roughshod. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 The institutional framework for democracy is formally still there, but Orbán’s government gave up on democratic norms and used government power to capture the institutions, which are not fulfilling their roles as checks and balances. Zsuzsanna Szelényi, The New Republic, 5 Apr. 2022 In addition to reworking the electoral system to give his party a big advantage, Orban has constrained nongovernmental organizations, deployed spyware against journalists, and dismantled a system of checks and balances. Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2022 Our system of government is designed with checks and balances between the executive branch and the legislative branch, which creates a natural tension that seems to have been a surprise. Anchorage Daily News, 17 Mar. 2022 The person in the room with the casting director who makes the decision to hire you most likely will go with the person who followed the casting system in place for checks and balances. Susan Johnston, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2022 The last thing an employer wants to do is create barriers to collaboration, and requiring an excessive number of checks and balances to access sensitive information can do just that. Michael Karner, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of checks and balances

1787, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for checks and balances

Time Traveler

The first known use of checks and balances was in 1787

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Dictionary Entries Near checks and balances


checks and balances

check sheet

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Statistics for checks and balances

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Checks and balances.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for checks and balances

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 Encyclopedia article about checks and balances


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