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 govern (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 With so much wind at his back, Mr. Biden could be fulfilling his campaign pledge to unify the country and govern in a bipartisan fashion. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2021 And Republicans who govern in places such as Texas have blown off Biden’s encouragement to maintain mask mandates and other restrictions. Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2021 Smaller government agencies can also make better use of local knowledge about geography or historical traditions to govern people in ways that fit their needs. Vasabjit Banerjee, The Conversation, 12 Apr. 2021 The Ninth Circuit, whose rulings govern federal cases in nine Western states, rejected Sessions’ view in a case from Guatemala in August and amplified its stance in Rodrigez-Tornes’ case. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Apr. 2021 The praise from the White House comes as some Republicans are asserting Biden has failed to live up to his campaign pledge to govern in a bipartisan way, most recently by cutting them out of the process of coronavirus relief. Andrew Solender, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Its leader, Benny Gantz, agreed to govern with Mr Netanyahu in order to fight covid-19. The Economist, 18 Mar. 2021 Muslims increasingly felt the Indian nationalist movement, which preached secular ideals but was overwhelmingly Hindu, would not govern in their interests after independence. Billy Perrigo, Time, 24 Dec. 2020 With a seemingly low barrier to entry, foreign hackers were able to hijack the terrestrial communication system Colonial relies upon to govern itself (the internet) and turn it against them. Charles Beames, Forbes, 27 May 2021

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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Govern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/govern. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for govern

govern

verb

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 govern (audio) \ adjective

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