AskDefine | Define legislature

Dictionary Definition

legislature n : persons who make or amend or repeal laws [syn: legislative assembly, general assembly, law-makers]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. A governmental body with the power to make, amend and repeal laws.


governmental body
  • Czech: zákonodárný sbor, legislativa
  • Dutch: wetgevende macht f m
  • Finnish: lainsäädäntöelin
  • Japanese: 立法府

Extensive Definition

'' A Legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to create, amend and ratify laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law.
Legislatures are known by many names, the most common being parliament and congress, although these terms also have more specific meanings. The main job of the legislature is to make and amend laws. In parliamentary systems of government, the legislature is formally supreme and appoints the executive. In presidential systems of government, the legislature is considered a power branch which is equal to, and independent of, the executive. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise taxes and adopt the budget and other money bills.
The primary components of a legislature are one or more chambers or houses'': assemblies that debate and vote upon bills. A legislature with only one house is called unicameral. A bicameral legislature possesses two separate chambers, usually described as an upper house and a lower house, which often differ in duties, powers, and the methods used for the selection of members. Much rarer have been tricameral legislatures; the most recent existed in the waning years of white-minority rule in South Africa.
In most parliamentary systems, the lower house is the more powerful house while the upper house is merely a chamber of advice or review.
However, in presidential systems, the powers of the two houses are often similar or equal. In federations it is typical for the upper house to represent the component states; the same applies to the supranational legislature of the European Union. For this purpose the upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments, as is the case in the European Union and in Germany and was the case in the United States before 1913, or be elected according to a formula that grants equal representation to states with smaller populations, as is the case in Australia and the modern United States.

Lists of titles of legislatures



legislature in Arabic: هيئة تشريعية
legislature in Min Nan: Li̍p-hoat
legislature in Belarusian: Заканадаўчая ўлада
legislature in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Заканадаўчая ўлада
legislature in Catalan: Poder legislatiu
legislature in Danish: Lovgivende magt
legislature in German: Legislative
legislature in Estonian: Seadusandlik võim
legislature in Spanish: Poder legislativo
legislature in Esperanto: Leĝdona povo
legislature in French: Pouvoir législatif
legislature in Indonesian: Legislatif
legislature in Icelandic: Löggjafarvald
legislature in Italian: Potere legislativo
legislature in Hebrew: פרלמנט
legislature in Luxembourgish: Legislativ
legislature in Lithuanian: Įstatymų leidžiamoji valdžia
legislature in Macedonian: Законодавна власт
legislature in Malay (macrolanguage): Legislatif
legislature in Dutch: Wetgevende macht
legislature in Japanese: 立法府
legislature in Norwegian: Politisk forsamling
legislature in Norwegian Nynorsk: Lovgjevande forsamling
legislature in Polish: Władza ustawodawcza
legislature in Portuguese: Poder legislativo
legislature in Russian: Законодательная власть
legislature in Bulgarian: Законодателна власт
legislature in Simple English: Legislature
legislature in Slovenian: zakonodajna oblast
legislature in Serbian: Законодавна власт
legislature in Swedish: Lagstiftande makt
legislature in Thai: อำนาจนิติบัญญัติ
legislature in Tagalog: Tagapagbatas
legislature in Turkish: Yasama organı
legislature in Vietnamese: Lập pháp
legislature in Chinese: 立法部門

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

British Cabinet, Sanhedrin, US Cabinet, act, advisory body, assembly, association, bench, board, body of advisers, borough council, brain trust, cabinet, camarilla, chamber, city council, common council, concurrent resolution, conference, congress, constitution, consultative assembly, council, council fire, council of ministers, council of state, council of war, county council, court, deliberative assembly, diet, directory, divan, enaction, enactment, joint resolution, junta, kitchen cabinet, lawmaking, legislation, parish council, passage, passing, privy council, resolution, soviet, staff, syndicate, synod, tribunal
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