unwritten constitution

noun

: 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 The divorce brought to power Boris Johnson, who tested Britain’s unwritten constitution. Jill Lawless, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Dec. 2023 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unwritten constitution.' 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

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unwritten constitution was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near unwritten constitution

Cite this Entry

“Unwritten constitution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwritten%20constitution. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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