American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The act or process of composing, setting up, or establishing.
- n. The composition or structure of something; makeup.
- n. The physical makeup of a person: Having a strong constitution, she had no trouble climbing the mountain.
- n. The system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribes the nature, functions, and limits of a government or another institution.
- n. The document in which such a system is recorded.
- n. The fundamental law of the United States, framed in 1787, ratified in 1789, and variously amended since then.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act of constituting, establishing, or appointing; formation.
- n. The state of being constituted, composed, made up, or established; the assemblage and union of the essential elements and characteristic parts of a system or body, especially of the human organism; the composition, make-up, or natural condition of anything: as, the physical constitution of the sun; the constitution of a sanitary system; a weak or irritable constitution.
- n. A system of fundamental principles, maxims, laws, or rules embodied in written documents or established by prescriptive usage, for the government of a nation, state, society, corporation, or association: as, the Constitution of the United States; the British Constitution; the Constitution of the State of New York; the constitution of a social club, etc. In American legal usage a constitution is the organic law of a State or of the nation, the adoption of which by the people constitutes the political organization, as distinguished from the statutes made by the political organization acting under the order of things thus constituted.
- n. A particular law, ordinance, or regulation, made by the authority of any superior, civil or ecclesiastical; specifically, in Roman law, what an emperor enacted, either by decree, edict, or letter, and without the interposition of any constitutional assembly: as, the constitutions of Justinian.
- n. Any system of fundamental principles of action: as, the New Testament is the moral constitution of modern society.
- n. That branch of the law which defines and interprets the scope and meaning of a constitution.
- n. The act, or process of setting something up, or establishing something; the composition or structure of such a thing; its makeup.
- n. The formal or informal system of primary principles and laws that regulates a government or other institutions.
- n. A legal document describing such a formal system.
- n. The general health of a person.
- n. A person's physique or temperament
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The act or process of constituting; the action of enacting, establishing, or appointing; enactment; establishment; formation.
- n. The state of being; that form of being, or structure and connection of parts, which constitutes and characterizes a system or body; natural condition; structure; texture; conformation.
- n. The aggregate of all one's inherited physical qualities; the aggregate of the vital powers of an individual, with reference to ability to endure hardship, resist disease, etc..
- n. The aggregate of mental qualities; temperament.
- n. The fundamental, organic law or principles of government of men, embodied in written documents, or implied in the institutions and usages of the country or society; also, a written instrument embodying such organic law, and laying down fundamental rules and principles for the conduct of affairs.
- n. An authoritative ordinance, regulation or enactment; especially, one made by a Roman emperor, or one affecting ecclesiastical doctrine or discipline.
- n. a United States 44-gun frigate that was one of the first three naval ships built by the United States; it won brilliant victories over British frigates during the War of 1812 and is without doubt the most famous ship in the history of the United States Navy; it has been rebuilt and is anchored in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston
- n. the constitution written at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and subsequently ratified by the original thirteen states
- n. the act of forming or establishing something
- n. law determining the fundamental political principles of a government
- n. the way in which someone or something is composed
“a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; for _where the laws have no authority there is no constitution_.”
“As to subject-matter, the term constitution, if used in a restricted sense, denotes some statute which the Vicar of Christ issues in solemn form either to the whole Christian world or to part of it, with the intention of permanently binding those to whom it is addressed.”
“The term constitution denotes, in general, the make-up of a body, either physical or moral.”
“The term constitution has many other significations in physics and politics,; but in jurisprudence,”
“The term constitution has many other significations in physics and in politics; but in jurisprudence, whenever it is applied to any act of the legislature, it invariably means a statute, law, or ordinance, which is the present case.”
“The term constitution has many other significations in physics and in politics; but in Jurisprudence, whenever it is applied to any act of the legislature, it invariably means a statute, law, or ordinance, which is the present case.”
“The question of what types of taxes are considered direct taxes under the constitution is a bit murky.”
“In practice, US officials seem to know better than to indulge in the patriotic myth that our constitution is the greatest system of government ever devised.”
“Second, the constitution is a very short, minimalistic document.”
“If the constitution is amended, that figure would rise to 15 percent of average tax revenue.”
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