But what does the current Constitution of the state say on that matter?

In the question above I want to add more meaning to the word "current". I am not fully satisfied with "current" because it means mainly "latest adopted", but doesn't underscore the idea that the Constitution in question was fully functioning and being well-observed in the state besides just having been adopted. So, is there any better word in English that I could use here instead of "current"?

EDIT: I do realize that "current" also implies "functioning" in this case, but I would really want to emphasize the fact that the law hasn't been compromised and has been operating well in the country.

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    "In force" might work. Or "well-established". Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 8:04

3 Answers 3


I think the word you're looking for is extant, which means "currently or actually existing."

It is not a terribly common word, but it is fairly frequently used in writing about the law, especially if that law is long-standing and still in effect.

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    But "extant" is often used, particularly in historical and archeological contexts, for things that still exist but are no longer in use. One could well say "The Code of Justinian is still extant." but it is surely no longer in effect nor current. I would take "An extant law" to be one the text of which is known, not one currently in force. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 20:26

Jack O'Flaherty mentioned this in a comment, the expression that describes an active law is "in force".

As per Collins (www.collinsdictionary.com/amp/english/in-force):

A law, rule, or system that is in force exists or is being used.

Although the new tax is already in force, you have until November to lodge an appeal.

Going back to your example you can say:

But what does the Constitution in force in the state say on that matter?

As David Siegel noted in his answer, other options like "active" or "current", whereas valid for other laws, are not common adjectives for a constitution and they can in turn create some confusion. E.g. the US Constitution came into force in 1789 and it has been amended 27 times. It is active and current, however a constitution would rarely be described in these terms, as they usually imply the idea of something that has changed recently before evolving into its actual form, which often times is not the case for this type of fundamental law. A constitution is also always active by definition in all democracies, so it would be redundant to say so.


For a stature or regulation one could,use "active". A law can, after all, be repealed or succeeded by a court decision. But I wouldn't use "active" for a constitution -- at least not in a place like the US where the Constitution is always a single document, a super-statute. In such a polity, the current constitution is always active, and the latest constitution is always current unless the nation or province has ceased to exist, at least in the same form (merger or division, conquest, revolution, etc)

One could also say "what is the law now in effect?" for much the same meaning. That could perhaps also be used of a constitution.

Neither of these fully captures the idea of "functioning and not compromised" in the question, however. One might say "what is the law in practice?" I can't think of an expression that comes closer to the requested sense.

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