from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Making a thing what it is; essential.
  • adj. Having power to institute, establish, or enact.
  • adj. Of or relating to the synthesis of a protein or an enzyme at a constant rate regardless of physiological demand or the concentration of a substrate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. having the power or authority to constitute, establish or enact something
  • adj. having the power or authority to appoint someone to office
  • adj. that makes something what it is; essential
  • adj. that forms a constituent part of something else
  • adj. (of an enzyme) that is continuously produced at a constant rate

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tending or assisting to constitute or compose; elemental; essential.
  • adj. Having power to enact, establish, or create; instituting; determining.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Constituting, forming, or composing; constituent; elemental; essential.
  • Having power to enact or establish; instituting.
  • In the Kantian philosophy, principles according to which an object of pure intuition can be constructed a priori: opposed to regulative principles (which see, unite regulative).
  • In physical chemistry, a term introduced by Ostwald to denote those properties of a compound which depend on the constitution of the molecule, or on the mode of union and arrangement of the atoms in the molecule.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. constitutional in the structure of something (especially your physical makeup)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Not unlike any other term constitutive of our political vocabulary,

    Intellectual Conservative Politics and Philosophy

  • "The new design of the referendum, which we call constitutive, will be acted on by Kenyans to adopt the draft constitution.

    AllAfrica News: Latest

  • Our love-icons and constellations of love-imagery aren't perennials, they're rather what archaeologist Colin Renfrew calls constitutive symbols: "in defining symbols, we are not just playing with words, but recognising features of the material world with which human individuals come to engage"; "that engagement . . . is socially mediated, and it comes about when other features of the society make that feasible."

    Love in literature

  • Such rules are the so-called constitutive rules, as opposed to regulative rules (the terminology is taken from Kant).


  • Mary Midgely's 1967 article “The Game Game” takes the argument further, in an attempt to refute Rawls 'claim that the notion of constitutive rules can truly capture the nature of a game.

    Transport: a Flash-Fiction Triptych

  • For a brief discussion of the notion of constitutive luck see the following supplementary document:

    Justice and Bad Luck

  • Some theorists, notably Searle (Searle 1995), have sought to identify institutions with a particular species of rule, namely, so called constitutive rules.

    Social Institutions

  • The property that is constitutive of an event is essential to that event; thus Lawrence Lombard (Lombard 1986) calls the constitutive property of an event a "property essence" of that event.

    States of Affairs

  • My chief disagreement with Doug is over the extent to which interpersonal morality, and in particular a principled dedication to rights, can be identified as a constitutive part of human flourishing.

    Cato Unbound

  • Jyoti Jaiswal, a research assistant professor and Sanford Simon, head of the Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics at Rockefeller University, examined the most common form of cellular export process called constitutive exocytosis, a continual ferrying of goods involved in the regular life and maintenance of all eukaryotic cells.

    Science Blog - Science news straight from the source


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.