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 America, there is nothing in the constitution that states that men and women should be treated equally. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "'I Am Woman' Star Tilda Cobham-Hervey Says Helen Reddy's Anthem 'Will Always Be Relevant to Women'," 6 Sep. 2019 But in North Carolina, the judges also agreed with Common Cause in that the gerrymandered districts violated separate equal protection and freedom of speech clauses in the state constitution. Rich Exner, cleveland.com, "What anti-gerrymandering court win in North Carolina means for Ohio," 4 Sep. 2019 This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "The 1619 Project’s Potted History," 27 Aug. 2019 The judge’s ruling upheld the right of the state to pre-empt local governments from passing their own gun laws — except for the right already granted counties in the constitution. Larry Barszewski, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward aims to put teeth back into its gun regulations," 20 Aug. 2019 Cassellius said the group wants to see the governor call another special session to address his goal of enshrining the dividend in the constitution. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Groups fighting for full Permanent Fund dividend press for governor to take Legislature’s ‘short-funded’ payment, for now," 12 Aug. 2019 Repeal the requirement in the constitution that bans public housing without voter approval. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Plan emerges to shift major housing costs to the state," 11 Aug. 2019 Only voters can repeal or abolish Oregon’s death penalty since it’s in the state constitution. oregonlive.com, "Calling Oregon death penalty ‘costly and immoral,’ governor signs bill limiting its use," 1 Aug. 2019 That rule is in the state constitution and no one in Sacramento wants to take that on. Julie Cart, The Mercury News, "California’s new wildfire plan: 5 things to know," 16 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.

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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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Statistics for constitution

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce constitution (audio)

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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