Definition of constitution in US English:

constitution

noun

  • 1A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.

    • ‘They believed Britain had abandoned the first principles of its constitution.’
    • ‘All that the Government can think of is to hang on to power - never mind about the constitution, democratic principle, or what is right.’
    • ‘Such clear contempt for the principles of the German constitution has seldom been so openly evinced by a leading politician.’
    • ‘It is fundamental to our constitution that lawmakers are chosen by the electorate and accountable to the electorate for their decisions.’
    • ‘The draft for a European constitution is intended to codify these conditions.’
    • ‘Should the government collapse, the president assumes a decisive role because, according to the constitution, he has the responsibility for naming a new prime minister.’
    • ‘This is not to say that the only necessities for economic development are constitutions that establish limited government - either through checks and balances or federalism.’
    • ‘The independence of the judiciary from political control or influence is a key principle of the British constitution.’
    • ‘State legislatures are a lot pickier about changing the federal constitution than the federal government is, and they often feel themselves to be at odds with the Feds over how to run their own territories.’
    • ‘In any case, according to the constitution, he must formally reappoint the government following the presidential elections.’
    • ‘But it also says that no law may contradict democratic principles and that the constitution accepts all human rights conventions.’
    • ‘Under the present constitution, a government is protected from removal for its first 18 months.’
    • ‘That is a fundamental principle of our constitution..’
    • ‘This last point was directed against all those who question the present constitution as Spanish centralist and monarchist.’
    • ‘Nepal is now governed under a democratic constitution prepared by a commission over a period of three months.’
    • ‘Those of us who worry about the constitution will face the precedent that this Government has established of being able to tinker with judges.’
    • ‘This week they were obsessed with a proposed constitution for the European Union and whether to have a referendum on it.’
    • ‘Some of us believe it is a fairly important principle of our constitution.’
    • ‘The fifteen member states bring to the Union their distinctive national histories, state traditions, constitutions, legal principles, political systems, and economic capacity.’
    • ‘Even from the standpoint of elementary bourgeois democratic principles, the constitution is a travesty.’
    charter, social code, canon, body of law, system of laws, system of rules
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    1. 1.1 The basic written set of principles and precedents of federal government in the US, which came into operation in 1789 and has since been modified by twenty-seven amendments.
  • 2The composition of something.

    ‘the genetic constitution of a species’
    • ‘Primary qualities are those qualities that objects possess in virtue of their physical constitution.’
    • ‘The particular powers had by a given object have their basis in its underlying nature - its chemical, physical, or genetic constitution and structure.’
    • ‘Microscopic inspection of different types of structures has revealed that proembryogenic masses are characterized by high interclonal variation of shape and cellular constitution.’
    • ‘They are material, viz., temporary, full of ignorance and miserable, and thus just opposite to the original constitution of the soul.’
    • ‘Advances in knowledge also indicate that a person's genetic constitution influences the risk of cancer after irradiation.’
    • ‘The emphasis in this study is on the conceptualization of composing in the documents within the framework of this broad constitution of the subject English.’
    • ‘She felt the mist around her gradually change shape and constitution as the control she had over her surroundings steadily escaped her.’
    • ‘The proposal assumes, as seems reasonable, that the relation of constitution only ever obtains between persisting objects which are composite, as are the statue and the lump of bronze.’
    • ‘Genotype refers to the genetic constitution of the organism.’
    • ‘These may relate to the object's origins, as when we claim to perceive some living thing, or to its physical constitution.’
    • ‘The traditional Indian science of music has different ragas according to the constitution of the biological body.’
    • ‘The experimenter points to an object of a certain shape and constitution, such as a wooden pyramid, and tells the young child ‘This is my blicket’.’
    • ‘For example, whether an individual comes down with late-onset diabetes is a function not only of his or her genetic constitution but also of dietary history.’
    • ‘For analysis of the chromosome constitution a centromeric probe was not required.’
    • ‘As in mammals, both chromosomal constitution and cell interactions are involved in the development of germ-cell sexual phenotype.’
    • ‘The chromosome constitution of an individual can be analyzed following tissue culture of an appropriate sample.’
    • ‘The objective of this study was to determine the chromosomal constitution and sperm characteristics among Indian males with severe male factor infertility.’
    • ‘It's that kind of junk food, refined and processed foods, that particularly affect this genetic constitution.’
    • ‘Even her insight is nothing more than the complex and dynamic active traces of her genetic constitution and personal history.’
    • ‘Fossil sponges can be identified by the arrangement of their skeletons, which consist of collections of spicules with characteristic shapes and chemical constitutions.’
    composition, make-up, structure, organization, construction, arrangement, configuration, framework, form, formation, anatomy, shape, design
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    1. 2.1 The forming or establishing of something.
      ‘the constitution of a police authority’
      • ‘During its constitution, this system is shaped to be blind to the components of the organism itself and, at the same time, acquires an astonishing capacity to detect a myriad of structures, even ones which do not occur in nature.’
      • ‘This return of the ‘real’ marks an outside always present within discourse, for the outside is continuously abjected by discourse during its constitution.’
      • ‘In this way, it promotes new communitarian formulas and the constitution of individuality on the margins of the ethnic group, citizenry, and the state.’
      • ‘The Erie Brackish Water desalination plant shall be overseen by the Department of the Interior, both during its constitution and following its completion.’
      founding, establishing, setting up, starting, initiation, institution, forming, creation, launch, flotation, origination, development, inauguration, endowment
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  • 3A person's physical state with regard to vitality, health, and strength.

    ‘pregnancy had weakened her constitution’
    • ‘Doctors believe more than half of asthma patients have allergic constitutions of various levels, which means they are very allergic to some materials.’
    • ‘He was one of the originals; a slight weak man with a rather sickly constitution.’
    • ‘Although she had a weak physical constitution, she worked with great discipline, producing several hundred paintings in her short career, as well as many drawings and a few etchings.’
    • ‘Diseases, as well as a person's constitution, are also categorized in this way.’
    • ‘I smacked my forehead and reached for the wall behind me; the hideous sight had suddenly weakened my constitution.’
    • ‘It is now recognized that each of us has a particular genetic wiring which determines our temperament traits, our level of intelligence and our physical constitution.’
    • ‘We have largely ignored, however, the impact of ecological changes and public health measures on the constitutions of other species.’
    • ‘There is a lot to be said for a healthy constitution: not just less constipation, but less colon cancer as well.’
    • ‘Whereas our physical constitution is determined at birth, our guna is moulded by environment and influenced by nutrition.’
    • ‘A widespread saying in the country was that Japan used a cup of milk to strengthen the constitution of its people.’
    • ‘In fact the ancient herbalists believed that fennel gave strength to the constitution and made fat people grow lean.’
    • ‘Unless planets are afflicted in Leo, the sign usually indicates strong vitality and a healthy constitution.’
    • ‘Westerners were often prone to neglect the ordinary precautions concerning health, which gradually weakened their constitutions.’
    • ‘But this cannot last long, even with people who have a strong physical constitution.’
    • ‘This shows that in the early years of life the subject's health was poor or delicate, but with care, the subject in later years developed robust vitality and a strong constitution.’
    • ‘They have natural ability, and they are graced with strong physical constitutions.’
    • ‘People's complexions are different because their physical constitutions are different.’
    • ‘The difficulty is to ensure that the resulting position is coherent with both our physical constitution and the closure of physics.’
    • ‘They who attend to the mere size of the organs, and they who derive all from the influence of bodily constitution, or temperament, as it is called, are equally in error…’
    • ‘Clinically, it has been used to treat patients with reduced physical strength, cold constitution, anemia and anorexia.’
    health, physique, state of health, physical condition, physical strength, shape, fettle
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    1. 3.1 A person's mental or psychological makeup.
      • ‘Don't laugh, we with delicate psychological constitutions find life a bit much now and then.’
      • ‘And he has just ‘feminity’ enough in his constitution to find pleasure in spiteful personalities.’
      • ‘It can get embarrassing, and, quite genuinely may be of limited interest to persons of different constitution to the teller.’
      • ‘The princess had too much mercury in her constitution to be long settled in any way of life whatsoever.’
      • ‘Blood predominated in spring, and a person with a natural excess of blood would have a sanguine physical and psychological humoral constitution, or temperament.’
      • ‘He did not have enough humour in his constitution to be amused by her.’
      • ‘Anyway, making some kind of religious totem out of a legal document doesn't reflect truth or usefulness, nor does it suit my contrary personal constitution.’
      • ‘He hadn't yet developed the hardened constitution of a special ops agent.’
      • ‘He shed light on the role of psychological constitution as determining the intensity and degree of LSD effects.’
      • ‘One common element was the suspicion of a psychogenic component: poor constitution, neurosis, weak nerves, neurasthenic temperament.’
      • ‘Darwin's doctors also acknowledged the importance of his nervous system and tactfully dealt with his delicate mental constitution as well as they could.’
      • ‘Depending on which elements are dominant in our constitution we display certain characteristics and tendencies linked to those elemental qualities.’
      • ‘The subject here is as much his psychological constitution as it is the infancy and craft of a comedy act.’
      • ‘It is this mental constitution we sought to characterize earlier.’
      • ‘His take-home message is one to which most people, independent of their psychological constitution, can relate.’
      • ‘That is, sin has affected our individual constitution in such a way that it has rendered all human beings spiritually lifeless.’
      • ‘Katastematic pleasure has this status because it is the enjoyment of one's natural constitution when one is not distracted by bodily pain or mental distress.’
      • ‘This process highlights one of the truly bizarre characteristics of the Canadian constitution.’
      • ‘Well, I just hope the American people have the same constitution as the GIs that they're sending over there.’
      • ‘Gradually but surely, that tiresome old anecdote has sapped my strength, undermined my constitution, withered my life.’
      • ‘This forms ‘congenital chi’ which determines the constitution of the individual throughout life.’
      personality, nature, disposition, temperament, temper, mentality, turn of mind, psychology, psyche, make-up, make, stamp, mould, cast
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Origin

Middle English (denoting a law, or a body of laws or customs): from Latin constitutio(n-), from constituere ‘establish, appoint’ (see constitute).

Pronunciation

constitution

/ˌkänstəˈt(y)o͞oSH(ə)n//ˌkɑnstəˈt(j)uʃ(ə)n/