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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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1Constitutions

Yasuo Hasebe and Cesare Pinelli

1.1 ‘Constitution’: families of meanings

The term ‘constitution’ corresponds etymologically to the Latin constitutio.1 The noun derives from the verb constituo,2 whose root statuo (‘to set up’) is a transitive form of sto (‘to stand’) (Ernout & Meillet, keyword sto).

Accordingly, two families of meanings are likely to stem from constitutio, namely the condition of an erect body, or the bodily predisposition as regards health or strength,3 and the action of building or of constituting something.4 These families might be considered as designating, respectively, the substance of which a certain entity is constituted, and the artificial production of a certain entity. A substantial (or organic) notion ...

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