con·​sti·​tu·​tion·​al·​ism ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈtü-sh(ə-)nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce constitutionalism (audio)
: adherence to or government according to constitutional principles
also : a constitutional system of government
constitutionalist noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Led by Scalia, conservatives had for decades railed against living constitutionalism as an undisciplined approach that allowed unelected judges to impose their preferences on the populace under the guise of constitutional interpretation. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2023 Will the Right continue to promote freedom, constitutionalism, and American leadership abroad? Matthew Continetti, National Review, 22 Oct. 2022 The new court upholds originalism, which has replaced its rival, living constitutionalism. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, 26 Sep. 2022 The 18th century was a period in which modern constitutionalism, with its particular emphasis on limited government and liberty under the rule of law, began taking on decisive form. Samuel Gregg, National Review, 6 Feb. 2022 Few, if any, American politicians have ever succeeded as well as Webster at making constitutionalism so inspiring. Fergus M. Bordewich, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 Many Chinese who survived the Cultural Revolution – including some party elites – came away with a conviction to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again, China needed the rule of law, constitutionalism and protection of individual rights. Selina Wang, CNN, 14 Oct. 2022 The theory of living constitutionalism, meanwhile, is rooted in the idea that the Constitution should adapt to the American people’s evolving values, as well as the needs of contemporary society. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, 26 Sep. 2022 In fact, constitutionalism is itself part of the problem. Ian Macdougall, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'constitutionalism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1832, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of constitutionalism was in 1832

Dictionary Entries Near constitutionalism

Cite this Entry

“Constitutionalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

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