unwritten constitution


Definition of unwritten constitution

: a constitution not embodied in a single document but based chiefly on custom and precedent as expressed in statutes and judicial decisions

Examples of unwritten constitution in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But there is a greater imperative even than Charles' adherence to Britain's unwritten constitution. Joseph Romm, CNN, 16 Sep. 2022 The lack of any mechanism to punish a prime minister who is found to have misled Parliament, Ms. White said, exposed a flaw in Britain’s unwritten constitution and political arrangements. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Nineteenth-century Britons celebrated their unwritten constitution. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2021 Until the American Revolution, most free countries in the world preferred an unwritten constitution of customs and norms established over time. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 26 Nov. 2020 Britain’s unwritten constitution does not have a clear rule for what happens if a prime minister becomes incapacitated or dies. Danica Kirka, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Apr. 2020 Britain's unwritten constitution does not have a clear rule for what happens if a prime minister becomes incapacitated or dies. Anchorage Daily News, 7 Apr. 2020 But that criticism rests on a misunderstanding about the role of judges in the U.K.’s unwritten constitution. James Grant, Time, 25 Sep. 2019 Intended to be adaptable and robust, Britain’s unwritten constitution was in danger of amplifying the chaos caused by Brexit, in a way that threatened the union itself. The Economist, 21 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of unwritten constitution

1890, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About unwritten constitution

Time Traveler for unwritten constitution

Time Traveler

The first known use of unwritten constitution was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near unwritten constitution


unwritten constitution

unwritten law

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for unwritten constitution

Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unwritten constitution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwritten%20constitution. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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