con·​sti·​tu·​tive | \ ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌtü-tiv How to pronounce constitutive (audio) , -ˌtyü-; kən-ˈsti-chə-tiv How to pronounce constitutive (audio) \

Definition of constitutive

1 : having the power to enact or establish : constructive
3 : relating to or dependent on constitution a constitutive property of all electrolytes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from constitutive

constitutively adverb

Examples of constitutive in a Sentence

the proposition that liberty and justice are constitutive elements of an enlightened society

Recent Examples on the Web

But in another sense, as the historian Edmund Morgan argued so powerfully nearly half a century ago, slavery and freedom were not at odds, but integrally intertwined, even mutually constitutive. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 There is no experience outside these constitutive conditions. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Anthony Kennedy and the Death of True American Conservatism," 29 June 2018 In such situations, space is not just a background canvas, but becomes constitutive of the utopian. Longreads, "Living Differently: How the Feminist Utopia Is Something You Have to Be Doing Now," 21 Jan. 2017 These days, opposition to the other party not only defines political discourse but is becoming a constitutive element of people’s identities. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, "Money Isn’t Everything on the Campaign Trail," 29 Sep. 2017 And being true to itself means understanding that our constitutive principles apply beyond our borders. William A. Galston, WSJ, "What Does Trump Mean by ‘the West’?," 11 July 2017 Like The Passion of the Christ, Detroit’s violence is its constitutive feature. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "Is Detroit’s Violence Gratuitous?," 8 Aug. 2017 Indeed, disability — both mental and physical —is socially constructed in ways comparable to, and mutually constitutive of, the construction of race and gender. Sari Botton, Longreads, "‘They Used Deadly Force to Subdue Her’," 2 Aug. 2017 Likewise, social changes, if more than accidental occurrences, if constitutive of moral goodness, are products of imaginative constructions and presuppose the will to make the ‘ Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Samuel D. Cook, Educator Who Pierced Campus Color Barriers, Dies at 88," 8 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'constitutive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of constitutive

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about constitutive

Statistics for constitutive

Last Updated

24 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constitutive

The first known use of constitutive was in 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for constitutive


con·​sti·​tu·​tive | \ ˈkän(t)-stə-ˌt(y)üt-iv How to pronounce constitutive (audio) , kən-ˈstich-ət-iv How to pronounce constitutive (audio) \

Medical Definition of constitutive

1a : of, relating to, or being an enzyme or protein produced in relatively constant amounts in all cells of an organism without regard to cell environmental conditions (as the concentration of a substrate) — compare inducible sense a
b : controlling production of or coding genetic information for a constitutive enzyme or protein constitutive genes constitutive mutations
2 : being chromatin of a chromosomal region that is condensed into heterochromatin in all cells of an organism rather than just some

Other Words from constitutive

constitutively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on constitutive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with constitutive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for constitutive

Comments on constitutive

What made you want to look up constitutive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!