con·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ism | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈtü-sh(ə-)nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce constitutionalism (audio) , -tyü- \

Definition of constitutionalism

: adherence to or government according to constitutional principles also : a constitutional system of government

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Other Words from constitutionalism

constitutionalist \ ˌkän(t)-​stə-​ˈtü-​sh(ə-​)nə-​list How to pronounce constitutionalism (audio) , -​tyü-​ \ noun

Examples of constitutionalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Our own view was that the Republicans’ point about acting in an election year was secondary to the imperative to advance constitutionalism on the Court. The Editors, National Review, 20 Sep. 2020 As a central pillar to American history and constitutionalism for 244 years, IP converges tradition and progress to enrich the lives of citizens and society. Lorenzo Montanari, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Sajo is an expert in comparative constitutionalism and was involved in the drafting of the Ukrainian, Georgian and South African constitutions. Terry Collins, USA TODAY, 5 May 2021 The antislavery constitutionalism that Lincoln embraced and helped develop would become the cornerstone for the politics of the Republican Party and in time would ignite southern secession. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, 13 Apr. 2021 However, the contest between proponents of originalism and common-good constitutionalism actually signals how rapidly and completely liberals have lost their grip on—and indeed barely comprehend—the national conversation. Peter Hammond Schwartz, The New Republic, 3 Feb. 2021 The pandemic has pitted establishment Republicans, who defer to public-health officials’ expertise, against hard-right libertarians who prize austere constitutionalism. Michael Ames, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2020 The boundaries between these different conceptions of constitutionalism are not always perfectly clear, of course. Yuval Levin, National Review, 17 Sep. 2020 Rival theories such as purposivism, pragmatism, and living-constitutionalism empower judges to ignore and override legal texts in order to impose their own solutions to the problems of the age. Ed Whelan, National Review, 1 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitutionalism.' 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 constitutionalism

1832, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of constitutionalism was in 1832

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Dictionary Entries Near constitutionalism

constitutional formula



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Cite this Entry

“Constitutionalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of constitutionalism

: the belief that a government should be based on a constitution


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