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

Keep scrolling for more

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?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The military suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament, Mr. Auf said. ... Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Sudan’s Dictator Omar al-Bashir Ousted as North Africa Rocked by Upheaval," 11 Apr. 2019 Think of it as a relationship constitution, or a guidebook for keeping both on the same page. Terri Huggins Hart, Good Housekeeping, "10 Brilliant Couples Therapy Hacks That Will Help Strengthen Any Relationship," 5 Apr. 2019 On his initiative, the country’s parliament added that commitment to the constitution earlier this year. Geir Moulson, The Seattle Times, "France’s Macron meets Ukraine’s 2 presidential contenders," 12 Apr. 2019 According to the constitution, the job then fell to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Guaidó. James Freeman, WSJ, "Ilhan Omar’s History of America," 15 Feb. 2019 Florida, Amendment 9 Ban Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and Ban Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces Amendment This odd ballot item ties two amendments to Florida's state constitution together in one. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "States will vote on these energy and environment issues in midterm elections," 4 Nov. 2018 Yet when aboriginal leaders suggested that any amendment to the constitution should empower, rather than simply nod at aboriginals, the government demurred. The Economist, "Australia’s states offer to make treaties with aboriginals," 5 July 2018 The new constitution packed the country’s courts, creating new seats that Fidesz Prime Minister Viktor Orbán filled with loyalists. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Wisconsin power grab is part of a bigger Republican attack on democracy," 6 Dec. 2018 He was elected to Parliament at age 32 as an independent candidate, helping to draw up a new constitution. Krishan Francis, Fox News, "Calm opposition leader wins Maldives presidency amid storm," 24 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of constitution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for constitution

see constitute

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about constitution

Statistics for constitution

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constitution

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on constitution

What made you want to look up constitution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!