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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

Definition of Constitutions

Rainer Grote

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 19 April 2021

Constitutions and international law — Principles and objectives of constitutions — Comparative constitutional law — Constitutions and amendments

General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.
Managing Editor: Ana Harvey

1. The term ‘constitution’ existed long before modern constitutions emerged. Originally used to describe a person’s physical state, it was soon applied to the body politic, yet not in a normative sense, but as a description of the situation of a country as determined by a number of factors such as its geography, climate, population, customs, and laws (Grimm 100). Still today, it retains a multiplicity of meanings, as even a short look at the definitions given in general dictionaries will show. Even in legal usage, the concept of constitution is not reserved to...
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