constitution

noun
con·sti·tu·tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈtü-shən , -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, -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

Spanish judicial authorities, on the other hand, say no such right exists in the country’s constitution and that separatists leaders’ attempts to secede did amount to rebellion. Jeannette Neumann, WSJ, "German Court Authorizes Extradition to Spain of Catalonia’s Former Leader," 12 July 2018 Tunisia has been the most advanced among Arab nations regarding women’s rights since gaining independence from France in 1956, with its first president Habib Bourguiba enshrining some principles of equality of men and women in the constitution. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Seattle Times, "Woman from moderate Islamic party elected mayor of Tunis," 3 July 2018 Tunisia has been the most advanced among Arab nations regarding women's rights since gaining independence from France in 1956, with its first president Habib Bourguiba enshrining some principles of equality of men and women in the constitution. NBC News, "Tunisia's capital elects first female mayor," 3 July 2018 Lack of income tax in the state, which is enshrined in the Washington constitution, has turned out to be a problem for Seattle as the company has grown. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "After losing fight to levy 'Amazon tax,' Seattle is back to square one on helping homeless," 17 June 2018 The bill, announced Thursday by the state's House Republicans, would establish a photo voter identification requirement in the state's constitution, the News & Observer in Raleigh reported. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Amazon, Apple should avoid North Carolina over 'racist' voter ID plan, advocacy group says," 8 June 2018 In Austria, freedom of religion is largely enshrined in the country’s constitution. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Austria is closing 7 mosques and kicking out 60 imams," 8 June 2018 Legal experts say the claims have a good chance of standing up in court, too, thanks to a clause in New Jersey’s state constitution specifically barring segregation in public schools. Oona Goodin-smith, Philly.com, "Your 2018 guide to the Jersey Shore, N.J. schools 'most segregated' in nation | Morning Newsletter," 18 May 2018 But before any betting law can be passed by the California legislature, an amendment to the state constitution must be passed by voters. Jay Posner, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Report: Sports betting in California unlikely to happen for at least two years," 18 May 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

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

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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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 , -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 \

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 \ 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).

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