Share this entry

Share this page

constitution

Syllabification: con·sti·tu·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌkänstəˈt(y)o͞oSH(ə)n
 
/

Definition of constitution in English:

noun

1A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.
Example sentences
  • Those of us who worry about the constitution will face the precedent that this Government has established of being able to tinker with judges.
  • Even from the standpoint of elementary bourgeois democratic principles, the constitution is a travesty.
  • All that the Government can think of is to hang on to power - never mind about the constitution, democratic principle, or what is right.
Synonyms
charter, social code, law;
bill of rights;
rules, regulations, fundamental principles
1.1 (the Constitution) 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
More example sentences
  • Advances in knowledge also indicate that a person's genetic constitution influences the risk of cancer after irradiation.
  • Even her insight is nothing more than the complex and dynamic active traces of her genetic constitution and personal history.
  • The particular powers had by a given object have their basis in its underlying nature - its chemical, physical, or genetic constitution and structure.
Synonyms
composition, makeup, structure, construction, arrangement, configuration, formation, anatomy
2.1The forming or establishing of something: the constitution of a police authority
More example sentences
  • The Erie Brackish Water desalination plant shall be overseen by the Department of the Interior, both during its constitution and following its completion.
  • This return of the ‘real’ marks an outside always present within discourse, for the outside is continuously abjected by discourse during its constitution.
  • 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.
3A person’s physical state with regard to vitality, health, and strength: pregnancy had weakened her constitution
More example sentences
  • Unless planets are afflicted in Leo, the sign usually indicates strong vitality and a healthy constitution.
  • Clinically, it has been used to treat patients with reduced physical strength, cold constitution, anemia and anorexia.
  • 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.
Synonyms
health, physical condition, fettle;
physique
3.1A person’s mental or psychological makeup.
Example sentences
  • He shed light on the role of psychological constitution as determining the intensity and degree of LSD effects.
  • The subject here is as much his psychological constitution as it is the infancy and craft of a comedy act.
  • His take-home message is one to which most people, independent of their psychological constitution, can relate.

Origin

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

More
  • A constitution once referred to a law, as well as to a body of laws or customs. It comes from Latin constituere ‘establish, appoint’ from con- ‘together’ and statuere ‘set up, place’. The latter is a rich source of English words including destitute (Late Middle English) literally ‘placed away’ so forsaken; institute (Middle English) something set up or established; restitution (Middle English) a re-establishing; statue (Middle English) something set up; and substitute (Late Middle English) someone set up instead of another. Prostitute (mid 16th century) comes from Latin prostituere ‘expose publicly, offer for sale’, from pro- ‘before’ and statuere ‘set up, place’.

Definition of constitution in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…