govern

verb
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \
governed; governing; governs

Definition of govern

transitive verb

1a : to exercise continuous sovereign authority over especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy in The country was governed by a king.
b : to rule without sovereign power and usually without having the authority to determine basic policy
2a archaic : manipulate
b : to control the speed of (a machine) especially by automatic means
3a : to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of
b : to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over income must govern expenditure
c : to hold in check : restrain was told to govern her emotions
4 : to require (a word) to be in a certain case
5 : to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for customs that govern human decisions

intransitive verb

1 : to prevail or have decisive influence : control In all situations allow reason to govern.
2 : to exercise authority

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Other Words from govern

governable \ ˈgə-​vər-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce governable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for govern

Synonyms

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Examples of govern in a Sentence

The tribe is governed by a 10-member council. They want to form their own country and govern themselves. The scandal limited her ability to govern effectively. How would he govern if he were elected president? She suggested changing the state's laws governing the sale of alcohol. The council governs fishing in the region. We will be studying the forces that govern the Earth's climate. Tradition governs all aspects of their lives. He allows himself to be governed by his emotions.
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Recent Examples on the Web In February, a special meeting of the church's top governing body failed to find an amicable solution. Holly Meyer, USA TODAY, "United Methodist leaders propose splitting church over same-sex marriage tensions," 3 Jan. 2020 In 2020 the sport’s governing bodies are hoping to see an even bigger surge in interest. The Economist, "New Olympic sports adjust to the limelight," 31 Dec. 2019 Participants serve on the program’s advisory and governing bodies, working groups, and task forces. Stephanie Devaney, Scientific American, "All of Us," 23 Dec. 2019 That’s when the governing body for Australian soccer announced a landmark equal pay deal. BostonGlobe.com, "Lindsey Vonn and Shalane Flanagan retire," 22 Dec. 2019 In practice, they are essentially governed by one of two competing Brazilian drug trafficking organizations, which run their trafficking and racketeering businesses there and recruit their rank and file from behind bars. Robert Muggah, The Conversation, "Evangelical gangs in Rio de Janeiro wage ‘holy war’ on Afro-Brazilian faiths," 16 Dec. 2019 Especially when our economy is at an all-time high, austerity policies should not govern the future of health care in our country. Lashyra Nolen, STAT, "Congress: Don’t eliminate funding for the diversity creating Health Career Opportunity Program," 12 Dec. 2019 If B Corps continue to grow, with more huge additions like Danone, the governing body will have an increasing responsibility to make sure its standards don’t slip. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Danone is showing multinationals the way to a less destructive form of capitalism," 9 Dec. 2019 His orders gave local governing bodies the ability to vote on exemptions for projects that would affect their tax base. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "Chemical Companies Are Building Their Plants Overseas and Shipping Them Back In. They Still Get State Tax Breaks.," 6 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'govern.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of govern

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for govern

Middle English, from Anglo-French governer, from Latin gubernare to steer, govern, from Greek kybernan

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Time Traveler for govern

Time Traveler

The first known use of govern was in the 14th century

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Statistics for govern

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Govern.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/govern. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for govern

govern

verb
How to pronounce govern (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of govern

: to officially control and lead (a group of people) : to make decisions about laws, taxes, social programs, etc., for (a country, state, etc.)
: to control the way that (something) is done
: to control or guide the actions of (someone or something)

govern

verb
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \
governed; governing

Kids Definition of govern

2 : to influence the actions and conduct of : control “… a kind word will govern me …”— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
3 : to serve as a rule for Laws governing the Internet are changing.
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \

Legal Definition of govern

1 : to exercise continuous sovereign authority over especially : to control and direct the administration of policy in
2 : to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over the testator's assets are governed by will substitutes— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.
3 : to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for the law governing bills of lading United States v. Leon governs the case at bar

Other Words from govern

governable \ ˈgə-​vər-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce governable (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on govern

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for govern

Spanish Central: Translation of govern

Nglish: Translation of govern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of govern for Arabic Speakers

Comments on govern

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