Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of constitution


  1. The basic law or laws of a nation or a state which sets out how that state will be organized by deciding the powers and authorities of government between different political units, and by stating and the basic principles of society. Constitutions are not necessarily written and may be based on aged customs and conventions, as is the case in England and New Zealand (the USA, Canada and Australia all have written constitutions).

Definition of constitution


Proper noun

the Constitution

  1. The supreme law of some countries, such as Australia, Ireland, and the United States.

    The Constitution is anchored in English liberal thought and the Magna Carta.


constitution (plural constitutions)

  1. The act, or process of setting something up, or establishing something; the composition or structure of such a thing; its makeup.
  2. The formal or informal system of primary principles and laws that regulates a government or other institutions.
  3. A legal document describing such a formal system.
  4. The general health of a person.
  5. A person's physique or temperament

Derived terms

Related terms

Further reading

A constitution is a set of rules for government-often codified as a written document-that enumerates the powers and functions of a political entity. In the case of countries, this term refers specifically to a national constitution defining the fundamental political principles, and establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of a government. By limiting the government's own reach, most constitutions guarantee certain rights to the people. The term constitution can be applied to any overall law that defines the functioning of a government, including several historical constitutions that existed before the development of modern national constitutions.

Constitutions concern different kinds of political organizations. They are found extensively in regional government, at supranational (e.g., European Union), federal (e.g., Indian Constitution), state or provincial (e.g., the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the constitution of the State of New York), and sub-national levels. They are also found in many political groups, such as political parties, pressure groups, and trade unions.

Non-political entities such as corporations and voluntary associations, whether incorporated or not, may also have a constitution. The constitution of a legally incorporated entity is more usually styled as its memorandum and articles of association (U.S. incorporation).

Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world[1], containing 448 articles, 12 schedules and 94 amendments, thereby totaling 117,369 words in its English language version[2].


  1. Pylee, M.V. (1997). India's Constitution. S. Chand & Co.. pp. 3. ISBN 812190403X.
  2. "Constitution of India". Ministry of Law and Justice of India. July, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     landed property
2.     common stock
3.     lex situs
4.     lex causae
5.     lex fori
6.     status quo
7.     buggery
8.     conclusive presumption
9.     interlocutory
10.     writ of seizure and sale