Hypertext Webster Gateway: "constitution"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Constitution \Con`sti*tu"tion\, n. [F. constitution, L.
1. The act or process of constituting; the action of
enacting, establishing, or appointing; enactment;
establishment; formation.

2. 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;

The physical constitution of the sun. --Sir J.

3. 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.; as, a robust constitution.

Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the
vices or luxuries of the old world. --Story.

4. The aggregate of mental qualities; temperament.

He defended himself with . . . less passion than was
expected from his constitution. --Clarendon.

5. 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

Our constitution had begun to exist in times when
statesmen were not much accustomed to frame exact
definitions. --Macaulay.

Note: In England the constitution is unwritten, and may be
modified from time to time by act of Parliament. In the
United States a constitution cannot ordinarily be
modified, exept through such processes as the
constitution itself ordains.

6. An authoritative ordinance, regulation or enactment;
especially, one made by a Roman emperor, or one affecting
ecclesiastical doctrine or discipline; as, the
constitutions of Justinian.

The positive constitutions of our own churches.

A constitution of Valentinian addressed to Olybrius,
then prefect of Rome, for the regulation of the
conduct of advocates. --George Long.

{Apostolic constitutions}. See under {Apostolic}.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: law determining the fundamental political principles of a
government [syn: {fundamental law}, {organic law}]
2: the act of forming something; "the constitution of a PTA
group"; "he still remembers the establishment of the
hospital" [syn: {establishment}, {formation}, {organization},
3: the way in which someone or something is composed [syn: {composition},
4: 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 [syn: {Constitution},
{Old Ironsides}]

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