Constituent means part of a whole. The word comes up often in political contexts: constituents are the people politicians have been elected to represent. Elected officials should stay in touch with the needs of their constituents.

To understand constituent, look at constitute, which means "to make up." The words share the Latin root constituentem, meaning "to compose," as in a part that makes up a larger whole. A politician's electorate is made of individual constituent voters. Although it’s often used to refer to voters, you can also say that a car motor, for example, is made of constituent parts. Constituent can be a noun or adjective.

Definitions of constituent
  1. noun
    an artifact that is one of the individual parts of which a composite entity is made up; especially a part that can be separated from or attached to a system
    synonyms: component, element
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    accessory, add-on, appurtenance, supplement
    a supplementary component that improves capability
    add-on, addition, improver
    a component that is added to something to improve it
    the sound elements of television
    auto part, car part
    a component of an automobile
    a crystalline element used as a component in various electronic devices
    computer hardware, hardware
    (computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system
    heating element
    the component of a heater or range that transforms fuel or electricity into heat
    a component of a mixture or compound
    a component of production; something that goes into the production of output
    component consisting of a side piece opposite the moldboard
    (usually plural) the components needed for making or doing something
    a self-contained component (unit or item) that is used in combination with other components
    pel, picture element, pixel
    (computer science) the smallest discrete component of an image or picture on a CRT screen (usually a colored dot)
    a component or accessory added to something after it has been manufactured
    spare, spare part
    an extra component of a machine or other apparatus
    spark gap
    a component of an ignition system; consists of two shaped electrodes and the space between them
    something added to enhance food or gasoline or paint or medicine
    admixture, intermixture
    an additional ingredient that is added by mixing with the base
    an addition that was not included in the original plan
    annex, annexe, extension, wing
    an addition that extends a main building
    a supplementary part or accessory
    auto accessory
    an accessory for an automobile
    a heating element in an electric fire
    the principal ingredient of a mixture
    the heating elements of a stove or range on which pots and pans are placed for cooking
    a module designed to be inserted into a larger piece of equipment
    C.P.U., CPU, central processing unit, central processor, mainframe, processor
    (computer science) the part of a computer (a microprocessor chip) that does most of the data processing
    computer accessory
    an accessory for a computer
    elongation, extension
    an addition to the length of something
    a small and often standardized accessory to a larger system
    fixings, trimmings
    the accessories that normally accompany (something or some activity)
    immersion heater
    a heating element that is immersed in the liquid that is to be heated (as in a hot-water tank)
    computer memory, computer storage, memory, memory board, storage, store
    an electronic memory device
    piezoelectric crystal
    a crystal that can be used as a transducer
    power module
    module that provides power to operate other modules
    computer hardware that arranges jobs to be done by the computer in an appropriate order
    computer hardware that sorts data or programs into a predetermined sequence
    hardware that provides better performance than an earlier version did
    a thing that is added or will be added
    type of:
    part, portion
    something less than the whole of a human artifact
  2. noun
    an abstract part of something
    “two constituents of a musical composition are melody and harmony”
    synonyms: component, element, factor, ingredient
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    be all and end all, be-all and end-all
    the essential factor; the all-important element; the supreme aim
    plot element
    a component or element of the plot of a story
    a geometric element that has position but no extension
    an element, idea, or argument used to create a contrast
    MacGuffin, McGuffin
    (film) a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot
    attracter, attractor
    (physics) a point in the ideal multidimensional phase space that is used to describe a system toward which the system tends to evolve regardless of the starting conditions of the system
    intersection, intersection point, point of intersection
    a point where lines intersect
    the point at which a line intersects a coordinate axis
    type of:
    division, part, section
    one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole
  3. noun
    something determined in relation to something that includes it
    “the animal constituent of plankton”
    synonyms: component, component part, moiety, part, portion
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    the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists
    language unit, linguistic unit
    one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed
    item, point
    a distinct part that can be specified separately in a group of things that could be enumerated on a list
    the part of a plant from which the roots spring or the part of a stalk or trunk nearest the roots
    base, basis
    the most important or necessary part of something
    detail, item, particular
    a small part that can be considered separately from the whole
    an individual or group or structure or other entity regarded as a structural or functional constituent of a whole
    anything that belongs to a set or class
    balance, remainder, residual, residue, residuum, rest
    something left after other parts have been taken away
    a part of a part
    the most worthless or undesirable part of something
    body substance
    the substance of the body
    living substance, protoplasm
    the substance of a living cell (including cytoplasm and nucleus)
    extended verbal expression in speech or writing
    a unit of language that native speakers can identify
    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
    a minimal unit (as a word or stem) in the lexicon of a language; `go' and `went' and `gone' and `going' are all members of the English lexeme `go'
    minimal meaningful language unit; it cannot be divided into smaller meaningful units
    minimal language unit that has a syntactic (or morphological) function
    a language unit by which a person or thing is known
    agenda item
    one of the items to be considered
    an item that is incidental
    inventory item
    an item listed in an inventory
    line item
    an item in an appropriation bill
    news item
    an item in a newspaper
    place, position
    an item on a list or in a sequence
    a grouping of words in a sentence
    phone, sound, speech sound
    (phonetics) an individual sound unit of speech without concern as to whether or not it is a phoneme of some language
    a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified
    high spot, highlight
    the most interesting or memorable part
    dregs, leftover, remnant
    a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists
    the chemical composition and properties of a substance or object
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
    a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
    (chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)
    (physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
    chemical element, element
    any of the more than 100 known substances (of which 92 occur naturally) that cannot be separated into simpler substances and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
    (biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription
    the substance that is acted upon by an enzyme or ferment
    one of four substances thought in ancient and medieval cosmology to constitute the physical universe
    an intervening substance through which something is achieved
    (biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed
    a substance that is fluid at room temperature and pressure
    a volatile substance; a substance that changes readily from solid or liquid to a vapor
    any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted
    a detail or feature that adds visual emphasis to or contrasts with its surroundings
    type of:
    an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together
  4. adjective
    constitutional in the structure of something (especially your physical makeup)
    synonyms: constitutional, constitutive, organic
    basic and fundamental
  5. noun
    (grammar) a word or phrase or clause forming part of a larger grammatical construction
    synonyms: grammatical constituent
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    (grammar) one of the two main constituents of a sentence; the grammatical constituent about which something is predicated
    (grammar) a constituent that is acted upon
    ablative absolute
    a constituent in Latin grammar; a noun and its modifier can function as a sentence modifier
    immediate constituent
    a constituent of a sentence at the first step in an analysis: e.g., subject and predicate
    construction, expression, grammatical construction
    a group of words that form a constituent of a sentence and are considered as a single unit
    an ungrammatical constituent
    one of the substantive phrases in a logical proposition
    (logic) the first term of a proposition
    object of a preposition, prepositional object
    the object governed by a preposition
    direct object, object of the verb
    the object that receives the direct action of the verb
    indirect object
    the object that is the recipient or beneficiary of the action of the verb
    retained object
    an object in a passive construction
    a construction that can be used to extend the meaning of a word or phrase but is not one of the main constituents of a sentence
    (grammar) an expression including a subject and predicate but not constituting a complete sentence
    a word or phrase used to complete a grammatical construction
    a long and intricate and complicated grammatical construction
    an expression consisting of one or more words forming a grammatical constituent of a sentence
    an expression that predicates
    (logic) what is predicated of the subject of a proposition; the second term in a proposition is predicated of the first term by means of the copula
    the first term in a proposition; the term to which other terms relate
    a term in a proposition that is related to the referent of the proposition
    categorem, categoreme
    a categorematic expression; a term capable of standing alone as the subject or predicate of a logical proposition
    major term
    the term in a syllogism that is the predicate of the conclusion
    minor term
    the term in a syllogism that is the subject of the conclusion
    middle term
    the term in a syllogism that is common to both premises and excluded from the conclusion
    type of:
    syntagm, syntagma
    a syntactic string of words that forms a part of some larger syntactic unit
  6. noun
    a member of a constituency; a citizen who is represented in a government by officials for whom he or she votes
    “needs continued support by constituents to be re-elected”
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    type of:
    elector, voter
    a citizen who has a legal right to vote
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