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 state's constitution was first written in Huntsville. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al.com, "Apollo 11 launched Huntsville itself into unexpected orbits," 14 July 2019 The legislature will now convene on July 22 because the state constitution requires that the override session must be held on a Monday. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Gov. Lamont vetoes three bills," 13 July 2019 The system was adopted as part of Mississippi's 1890 constitution. NBC News, "9 states where the rules for voting have been changed or challenged ahead of 2020," 13 July 2019 But are our institutions strong enough to protect the constitution? Washington Post, "Glenn Greenwald has faced pushback for his reporting before. But not like this.," 13 July 2019 Across the English Channel a red-haired Irishman, Edmund Burke, heard with increasing alarm of the destruction a lawless mob visited on France’s ancient constitution. Liam Warner, WSJ, "Reparations and the Spirit of 1789," 11 July 2019 The constitution requires a census count every 10 years. Amanda Seitz, Fortune, "Did Obama Remove the Citizenship Question From the U.S. Census? Fact Check," 11 July 2019 Two-thirds of the fund allocations go to the UT system, and one-third goes to Texas A&M system, per the state constitution. Dallas News, "UT-Austin promises free tuition to students with family income less than $65,000 in 2020," 9 July 2019 Demise of the 'Vanna White veto' A 1990 amendment to the constitution barred governors from striking out individual letters to create new words. Lawrence Andrea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers proves once again that Wisconsin governors have the broadest veto powers in the U.S.," 3 July 2019

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

17 Jul 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

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!