constitution

noun
con·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce constitution (audio) , -ˈtyü-\

Definition of constitution

1a : the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it
b : a written instrument embodying the rules of a political or social organization
2a : the physical makeup of the individual especially with respect to the health, strength, and appearance of the body a hearty constitution
b : the structure, composition, physical makeup, or nature of something the constitution of society
3 : the mode in which a state or society is organized especially : the manner in which sovereign power is distributed
4 : an established law or custom : ordinance
5 : the act of establishing, making, or setting up before the constitution of civil laws

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Other Words from constitution

constitutionless \ ˌkän(t)-​stə-​ˈtü-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce constitutionless (audio) , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective

Examples of constitution in a Sentence

The state's constitution has strict rules about what tax money can be used for. Members of the club have drafted a new constitution. The state's original constitution is on display at the museum. He has a robust constitution. Only animals with strong constitutions are able to survive the island's harsh winters. What is the molecular constitution of the chemical?
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Recent Examples on the Web

In his victory speech Mr Duque promised not to tear up the deal, bits of which are part of the constitution. The Economist, "Colombia’s new president will struggle to heal his country’s divisions," 21 June 2018 Macedonia plans to amend its constitution to reflect the change. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Why Macedonia’s Government Agreed to Change the Country’s Name," 13 June 2018 Nicolás Maduro is not only illegitimate because of the laws and the constitution. WSJ, "‘I’m Not Afraid to Die for This’: Venezuelans on the Fight for Their Country," 21 Feb. 2019 Erwin Chemerinsky Preambles to constitutions are remarkably revealing. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why the Constitution is an inherently progressive document," 18 Dec. 2018 In a sense, these are political documents of their own: miniaturized corporate constitutions that can be amended over time to fit the needs of shareholders and users. Parker Molloy, The Verge, "By not banning Alex Jones, Twitter is making a political choice," 8 Aug. 2018 The only thing this amendment would literally do, if passed, is add a line to North Carolina’s constitution that declares hunting and fishing a state constitutional right. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Environmental Measures on the 2018 Midterm Election Ballots You Should Know About," 18 Oct. 2018 Under Venezuela’s constitution the president of the National Assembly can assume power temporarily if the president is deemed unfit. Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ, "Pompeo Presses U.N. Security Council on Venezuela," 26 Jan. 2019 Under the league constitution, such a transfer would require approval by at least 3/4 of principal owners. Michael Mccann And Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Can Dan Gilbert Offer His Team to Keep LeBron James?," 8 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitution.' 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 constitution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for constitution

see constitute

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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for constitution

The first known use of constitution was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for constitution

constitution

noun

English Language Learners Definition of constitution

: the system of beliefs and laws by which a country, state, or organization is governed
: a document that describes this system
: the physical health and condition of a person or animal

constitution

noun
con·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌkän-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce constitution (audio) , -ˈtyü-\

Kids Definition of constitution

1 : the physical makeup of an individual
2 : the basic structure of something
3 : the basic beliefs and laws of a nation, state, or social group by which the powers and duties of the government are established and certain rights are guaranteed to the people or a document that sets forth these beliefs and laws

constitution

noun
con·​sti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shən How to pronounce constitution (audio) \

Medical Definition of constitution

1 : the physical makeup of the individual comprising inherited qualities modified by environment
2 : the structure of a compound as determined by the kind, number, and arrangement of atoms in its molecule

Other Words from constitution

constitutional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce constitutional (audio) \ adjective

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constitution

noun
con·​sti·​tu·​tion

Legal Definition of constitution

1 : the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it
2 : a written instrument containing the fundamental rules of a political or social organization especially, capitalized : the U.S. Constitution — compare charter, declaration

Note: A constitution was originally simply a law, ordinance, or decree usually made by a king, emperor, or other superior authority. A constitution now usually contains the fundamental law and principles with which all other laws must conform. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the British Constitution is not set down in a comprehensive document, but is found in a variety of statutes (as the Magna Carta) and in common law. Canada inherited many of the rules and practices that are considered part of the British Constitution, but the Constitution of Canada is also set down in comprehensive documents, such as the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867).

History and Etymology for constitution

Latin constitutio system, fundamental principles (of an institution), from constituere to set up, establish

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