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Constitution Glossary

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people

People is used as a noun Noun: Definition 1

SYLLABICATION:

peo*ple

PRONUNCIATION:

NOUN:

Inflected forms: pl. people

1. Humans considered as a group or in indefinite numbers: People were dancing in the street. I met all sorts of people. 2. A body of persons living in the same country under one national government; a nationality. 3. Inflected forms: pl. peo*ples

A body of persons sharing a common religion, culture, language, or inherited condition of life. 4. Persons with regard to their residence, class, profession, or group: city people. 5. The mass of ordinary persons; the populace. Used with the: "those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes" (Thomas Jefferson). 6. The citizens of a political unit, such as a nation or state; the electorate. Used with the. 7. Persons subordinate to or loyal to a ruler, superior, or employer: The queen showed great compassion for her people. 8. Family, relatives, or ancestors. 9. Informal Animals or other beings distinct from humans: Rabbits and squirrels are the furry little people of the woods.

TRANSITIVE VERB:

Inflected forms: peo*pled, peo*pling, peo*ples

To furnish with or as if with people; populate.

ETYMOLOGY:

Middle English peple, from Old French pueple, from Latin populus, of Etruscan origin.

OTHER FORMS:

peopler --NOUN

USAGE NOTE:

As a term meaning "a body of persons sharing a culture," people is a singular noun, as in As a people the Pueblo were noteworthy for their peacefulness. Its plural is peoples: the many and varied peoples of West Africa. But when used to mean "humans," people is plural and has no corresponding singular form. English is not unique in this respect; Spanish, Italian, Russian, and many other languages have a plural word meaning "people" that has no singular. Some grammarians have insisted that people is a collective noun that should not be used as a substitute for persons when referring to a specific number of individuals. By this thinking, it is correct to say Six persons were arrested, not Six people were arrested. But people has always been used in such contexts, and almost no one makes the distinction anymore. Persons is still preferred in legal contexts, however, as in Vehicles containing fewer than three persons may not use the left lane during rush hours. Only the singular person is used in compounds involving a specific numeral: a six-person car; a two-person show. But people is used in other compounds: people mover; people power. These examples are exceptions to the general rule that plural nouns cannot be used in such compounds; note that we do not

political

Adjective definition 2

SYLLABICATION:

po*lit*i*cal

ADJECTIVE:

1. Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state. 2. Relating to, involving, or characteristic of politics or politicians: "Calling a meeting is a political act in itself" (Daniel Goleman). 3. Relating to or involving acts regarded as damaging to a government or state: political crimes. 4. Interested or active in politics: I'm not a very political person. 5. Having or influenced by partisan interests: The court should never become a political institution. 6. Based on or motivated by partisan or self-serving objectives: a purely political decision.

OTHER FORMS:

po*liti*cal*ly --ADVERB

natural law

NOUN:

A law or body of laws that derives from nature and is believed to be binding upon human actions apart from or in conjunction with laws established by human authority.

self-evident

SYLLABICATION:

self-ev*i*dent

ADJECTIVE:

Requiring no proof or explanation.

OTHER FORMS:

self-evi*dence --NOUN

self-evi*dent*ly --ADVERB

unalienable

SYLLABICATION:

un*al*ien*a*ble

ADJECTIVE:

Not to be separated, given away, or taken away; inalienable: "All of them . . . claim unalienable dignity as individuals" (Garrison Keillor).

institute

Instituted is used as a Verb: def. 1a Institute later is used as a Verb: 1 b

SYLLABICATION:

in*sti*tute

PRONUNCIATION:

nt-tt, -tyt

TRANSITIVE VERB:

Inflected forms: in*sti*tut*ed, in*sti*tut*ing, in*sti*tutes

1a. To establish, organize, and set in operation. b. To initiate; begin. See synonyms at found1. 2. To establish or invest in an office or a position.

NOUN:

1a. Something instituted, especially an authoritative rule or precedent. b. institutes A digest of the principles or rudiments of a particular subject, especially a legal abstract. 2. An organization founded to promote a cause: a cancer research institute. 3a. An educational institution, especially one for the instruction of technical

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