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

The Basic Law is Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, which promises the semiautonomous Chinese city certain democratic rights not afforded to the mainland. Washington Post, "Germany’s Merkel says Hong Kong’s rights should be protected," 6 Sep. 2019 The Basic Law is Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, which promises the semi-autonomous Chinese city certain democratic rights not afforded to the mainland. Time, "Germany's Merkel Says Hong Kong's Rights Should Be Protected," 6 Sep. 2019 The answer is simple from yesterday’s ruling, per NBC’s Pete Williams: This result is based on the STATE constitution, not the federal one. NBC News, "Around the world, disruption is beating out stability," 4 Sep. 2019 Weiser has urged the Colorado Supreme Court to evaluate the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution, when determining whether the magazine ban is constitutional. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Colorado attorney general argues for ban on large-capacity gun magazines," 13 Aug. 2019 Mixton also argued that police violated his rights under section eight of the Arizona state constitution, which protects the right to privacy. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Arizonans have a right to privacy online, court rules," 31 July 2019 Under the league’s constitution, teams that are caught tampering face a potential range of punishments—including fines, forfeiture of draft picks and voidance of free agent signings. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Understanding Why Salary Cap Circumvention Is Dangerous for the NBA," 25 July 2019 Her grandfather, Andres Molina Enriquez, was a key intellectual in the Mexican Revolution, writing the first draft of the new constitution’s land reforms. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Educator, social activist Gracia Molina de Pick dies at 91," 20 Aug. 2019 That status is enshrined in the Basic Law, a mini-constitution that lays down the framework for Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Why Beijing Is So Reluctant To Suppress Protests in Hong Kong," 19 Aug. 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

11 Sep 2019

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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

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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