Definition: Constitution

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English constitucioun, constitucion (edict, law, ordinance, regulation, rule, statute; body of laws or rules, or customs; body of fundamental principles; principle or rule (of science); creation) from Old French constitucion (modern French constitution), a learned borrowing from Latin cōnstitūtiō, cōnstitūtiōnem (character, constitution, disposition, nature; definition; point in dispute; order, regulation; arrangement, system), from cōnstituō (to establish, set up; to confirm; to decide, resolve). Equivalent to constitute + -ion.


constitution (plural constitutions)

  1. The act, or process of setting something up, or establishing something; the composition or structure of such a thing; its makeup.
  2. (government) The formal or informal system of primary principles and laws that regulates a government or other institutions.
  3. (law) A legal document describing such a formal system.
  4. (Catholicism) A document issued by a religious authority serving to promulgate some particular church laws or doctrines.
  5. A person's physical makeup or temperament, especially in respect of robustness.
    He has a strong constitution, so he should make a quick recovery from the illness.

Derived terms

  • constitutional

Related terms

  • constitute
  • constituent
  • constituency
  • constitutive


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