limits imposed on all branches of a government by vesting in each branch the right to amend or void those acts of another that fall within its purview.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use checks and balances in a sentence
Such journalism is not a crime, but rather a crucial part of the checks-and-balances that go hand-in-hand with democracy.Japan’s new Secrets Bill Threatens To Muzzle The Press and Whistleblowers | Jake Adelstein, Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky | November 29, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Frustrating as our national discourse can be, the checks-and-balances of a pluralistic society certainly seems preferable to that.Atheist Philosopher Peter Boghossian’s Guide to Converting Believers | Michael Schulson | November 2, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
British Dictionary definitions for checks and balances
government, mainly US competition and mutual restraint among the various branches of government
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for checks and balances
A fundamental principle of American government, guaranteed by the Constitution, whereby each branch of the government (executive, judicial, and legislative) has some measure of influence over the other branches and may choose to block procedures of the other branches. Checks and balances prevent any one branch from accumulating too much power and encourage cooperation between branches as well as comprehensive debate on controversial policy issues. For example, to enact a federal law, the Senate and the House of Representatives must each vote to pass the law. In this sense, each house of Congress can check the other. Furthermore, even if the two houses do agree, the president must sign the law. If he chooses to veto the law, it can still be enacted if two-thirds of the members of both houses vote to override the veto. Under this arrangement, both Congress and the president can check each other. (See also appropriation, impeachment, judicial review, and separation of powers.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with checks and balances
System whereby each branch of an organization can limit the powers of the other branches, as in The union has used a system of checks and balances to prevent any large local from dominating its policies. This system was enacted through the Constitution of the United States in order to prevent any of its three branches from dominating the Federal government. The term is occasionally transferred to other mechanisms for balancing power.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.