from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The constitutional power of the chief executive of a state or nation to prevent or delay the enactment of legislation passed by the legislature.
  • noun An instance in which this right is exercised.
  • noun An official document or message from a chief executive stating the reasons for rejection of a bill.
  • noun The power of one party or entity to forbid the actions or decisions of another party or entity.
  • noun A prohibition or rejection of a proposed or intended act.
  • transitive verb To prevent or delay (a legislative bill) from becoming law by exercising the power of veto.
  • transitive verb To forbid, prohibit, or decide against.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To forbid authoritatively; specifically, to negative by exercising the constitutional right of veto: as, to veto a bill.
  • noun In a constitutional government, the right vested in one branch of it to negative the determinations of another branch; specifically, the right, under constitutional restrictions, of the executive, as a king, a president, or a governor, to reject a bill passed, by the legislature; also, the act of exercising this right.
  • noun Any right or power of authoritatively forbidding or effectively negativing, or the exercise of such right or power; prohibition; interdict.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To prohibit; to negative; also, to refuse assent to, as a legislative bill, and thus prevent its enactment.
  • noun An authoritative prohibition or negative; a forbidding; an interdiction.
  • noun A power or right possessed by one department of government to forbid or prohibit the carrying out of projects attempted by another department; especially, in a constitutional government, a power vested in the chief executive to prevent the enactment of measures passed by the legislature. Such a power may be absolute, as in the case of the Tribunes of the People in ancient Rome, or limited, as in the case of the President of the United States. Called also the veto power.
  • noun The exercise of such authority; an act of prohibition or prevention.
  • noun United States A document or message communicating the reasons of the executive for not officially approving a proposed law; -- called also veto message.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A political right to disapprove of (and thereby stop) the process of a decision, a law etc.
  • noun An invocation of that right.
  • verb transitive To use a veto against.

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

  • noun the power or right to prohibit or reject a proposed or intended act (especially the power of a chief executive to reject a bill passed by the legislature)
  • noun a vote that blocks a decision
  • verb vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to assent
  • verb command against


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

[From Latin vetō, first person sing. present tense of vetāre, to forbid.]


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  • This agitation from without rendered the debates upon the veto stormy; in this way a very simple question acquired great importance, and the ministry, perceiving how fatal the influence of an absolute decision might prove, and seeing, also, that the _unlimited veto_ and the _suspensive veto_ were one and the same thing, induced the king to be satisfied with the latter, and give up the former.

    History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814

  • "They avoid using the term veto power, but that is clearly all they are willing to accept."

    Battle For Hong Kong

  • But if I'm reading it correctly, the Task Force Report appears to go much further, condemning the practice of constitutional nonenforcement in any circumstances, advising that a veto is appropriate even where a plainly unconstitutional provision appears in an otherwise important omnibus bill (see page 23).


  • Perhaps equally important, a veto is a far more powerful political gesture; a signing statement would seem particularly devious and unsatisfying, both to the public at large, and, perhaps more importantly, to the President's supporters in the pro-life movement, who would have demanded a clear rejection of the bill rather than allowing it to become law.


  • And, of course, I've always got the ultimate way to make sure we bring fiscal sanity into Washington -- that's what we call a veto, Mr. President.

    CNN Transcript Sep 6, 2001

  • Obama, defending his opposition to a Palestinian plan to seek statehood Friday to the skeptical members of the General Assembly, received a polite reception, but there was little enthusiasm as he explained - without using the word veto - why the United States would not back the proposal.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Without using the word "veto," he said the president would "insist" on a bill that met these criteria.

    NYT > Home Page

  • His use of the word "veto" and the way in which he imagines its use suggest that at least some Supreme Court constitutional decisions would actually be undone simply by acts of popular will.

    The Full Feed from

  • Sources close to Mr Clegg made clear he was not using the word "veto", arguing instead that the British position had been rejected by other EU nations.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • President Obama took to the podium of the UN general assembly yesterday, conspicuously avoiding use of the word "veto" in his speech, which would be an unpopular move given the liebrated mood of the Arab spring which his administration has so vocally supported. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph


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