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 Per the studio’s constitution, Rogers’ name will be dropped from the practice within the next two years. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Apple’s ‘most ambitious’ new store is a departure from its signature design," 8 Sep. 2020 Christianity stripped the imperial polity of its claim to divine supremacy by setting Christ over and against Caesar, claiming that God is revealed not in the constitution of the state but in the voluntary association of Christian believers. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Put Not Your Trust in Princes (nor in Republicans)," 4 Sep. 2020 The right to mine is enshrined in the constitution. Washington Post, "In the Amazon, the coronavirus fuels an illegal gold rush — and an environmental crisis," 4 Sep. 2020 Members are not elected, but residents can apply and are appointed by the Hennepin County judge, a process outlined in the Minnesota constitution. Zoë Jackson, Star Tribune, "How Charter Commission kept Minneapolis police reform off November ballot," 1 Sep. 2020 State suffragists weren’t expecting to join the national movement because of a clause in the state constitution that restricted the legislature from voting on federal amendments. USA Today, "View more than 100 photos of Tennessee’s role in the women’s suffrage movement," 19 Aug. 2020 Consisting of more than 37 million acres, its rich biodiversity is recognized in Brazil's constitution and also by UNESCO. Eduardo Duwe And Marcia Reverdosa, CNN, "Fires destroy home of one of the world's rarest birds in Brazil," 18 Aug. 2020 There’s more information available about Black women and men’s political participation in the period when groups fought to restore suffrage by including it in the state’s constitution in 1895, Kitterman said. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah women of color were part of fight for equal suffrage, historians say," 16 Aug. 2020 One of his most cherished goals is to revise the clause in the constitution, enacted by American occupiers, that requires Japan to renounce war, and to build a more powerful country with more normalized military capabilities. Motoko Rich, BostonGlobe.com, "Japanese politicians mark war anniversary at contentious shrine," 15 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for constitution

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

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constitution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/constitution. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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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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