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 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, "How Ammon Bundy Helped Foment an Anti-Masker Rebellion in Idaho," 21 Dec. 2020 The boundaries between these different conceptions of constitutionalism are not always perfectly clear, of course. Yuval Levin, National Review, "What Is Our Constitution?," 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, "Justice Barrett Would Extend Scalia’s Legacy," 1 Oct. 2020 American constitutionalism requires a distinctly republican virtue, and cannot do without it. Yuval Levin, National Review, "What Is Our Constitution?," 17 Sep. 2020 The initiative shows commitment to constitutionalism and respect for property rights and restoring the rule of law. Misheck Mutize, Quartz Africa, "The problem with Zimbabwe using a $3.5 billion sovereign bond to compensate white farmers," 5 Aug. 2020 On the other hand, the usual liberal position – living constitutionalism – is clear. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, "Supreme Court reforms, strengthens Electoral College," 6 July 2020 Xi said, and should avoid Western ideas such as constitutionalism, balance of powers or judicial independence. Los Angeles Times, "China’s new ‘rule of law’ in Hong Kong sets stage for new protests," 28 Apr. 2020 András Sajó - A former judge and vice president of the European Court of Human Rights who is an expert in free speech and comparative constitutionalism. NBC News, "Facebook names 20 people to its 'Supreme Court' for content moderation," 27 Apr. 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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Time Traveler for constitutionalism

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The first known use of constitutionalism was in 1832

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Statistics for constitutionalism

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constitutionalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for constitutionalism


How to pronounce constitutionalism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of constitutionalism

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

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