[ kon-sti-too-shuhn, -tyoo- ]
See synonyms for constitution on
  1. the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed.

  2. the document embodying these principles.

  1. (initial capital letter) Constitution of the United States.

  2. the way in which a thing is composed or made up; makeup; composition: the chemical constitution of the cleanser.

  3. the physical character of the body as to strength, health, etc.: He has a strong constitution.

  4. Medicine/Medical, Psychology. the aggregate of a person's physical and psychological characteristics.

  5. the act or process of constituting; establishment.

  6. the state of being constituted; formation.

  7. any established arrangement or custom.

  8. Archaic. character or condition of mind; disposition; temperament.

Origin of constitution

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English constitucion “edict, ordinance,” from Anglo-French, from Latin constitūtiōn-, stem of constitūtiō “an appointing, establishing”; see constitute, -ion

Other words from constitution

  • an·ti·con·sti·tu·tion, adjective

Words Nearby constitution Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use constitution in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for constitution


/ (ˌkɒnstɪˈtjuːʃən) /

  1. the act of constituting or state of being constituted

  2. the way in which a thing is composed; physical make-up; structure

  1. the fundamental political principles on which a state is governed, esp when considered as embodying the rights of the subjects of that state

  2. (often capital) (in certain countries, esp Australia and the US) a statute embodying such principles

  3. a person's state of health

  4. a person's disposition of mind; temperament

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 constitution (1 of 2)


A nation or state's fundamental set of laws. Most nations with constitutions have them in written form, such as the United States Constitution. The constitution of Britain, by contrast, is an informal set of traditions, based on several different laws.


The fundamental law of the United States, drafted in Philadelphia in 1787 (see Constitutional Convention), ratified in 1788, and put into effect in 1789. It established a strong central government in place of the Articles of Confederation. (See Preamble to the Constitution.)

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.