Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Constitution

What is the dictionary definition of Constitution?

Dictionary Definition

n. the fundamental, underlying document which establishes the government of a nation or state. The U.S. Constitution, originally adopted in convention on September 17, 1787, ratified by the states in 1788, and thereafter amended 27 times, is the prime example of such a document. It is the basis for all decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court (and federal and state courts) on constitutionality. The case of Marbury v. Madison (1803) firmly established the power of the Supreme Court to strike down federal statutes it found unconstitutional, making the Supreme Court the final arbiter of constitutional interpretation. The “equal rights” provision of the 14th Amendment established that the rights in the first ten amendments (“Bill of Rights”) applied to state governments. Unfortunately, state constitutions have gathered tremendous amounts of baggage of detail by amendment over the years, and it is more difficult to “fine-tune” state constitutions by further amendment than it is to enact statutes (pass new laws). However, state courts are bound by their state’s constitution on fundamental issues. The so-called English constitution is an unwritten body of legal customs and rights developed by practice and court decisions from the 11th to the 18th Century.

Full Definition of Constitution

1. A document setting out a state’s basic legal framework and, quite often, limiting and defining the powers of government.

See also: written constitution.

2. Of a trust, constitution consists in transferring the trust property’s legal title from the settlor or testator to the trustee.

See also: constitution of trusts.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Constitution. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 16, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Constitution. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 16, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Constitution. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Constitution are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 4 Views.