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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Claiming the right of Indigenous communities to govern themselves, Pueblos Unidos backed the establishment of an autonomous regional government. Allison Keeley, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2022 There was no need for those who disagreed to discuss the issue since we weren't allowed to govern ourselves. Richard Galant, CNN, 26 June 2022 Tarnoff wants platforms to be much smaller, small enough to govern themselves and resist radicalizing content. Gabriel Nicholas, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 Some activists want to take over a company and govern it differently for financial reasons. New York Times, 28 May 2022 Those include potential Name, Image an Likeness abuses, the transfer portal and whether the Power 5 leagues will break away from the NCAA, for football only, and govern themselves. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 May 2022 The city has lost the ability to govern itself in many ways. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 19 May 2022 The development of these tech tools has raced far ahead of the laws and regulations that might govern them. Maryclaire Dale, Chicago Tribune, 18 May 2022 Shortly after Disney spoke out against the law, Republicans enacted a law to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which covers Walt Disney World and allows the theme park to govern itself. Madeline Halpert, Forbes, 16 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near govern

Gove

govern

governance

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Statistics for govern

Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Govern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/govern. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for govern

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.

govern

transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on govern

Nglish: Translation of govern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of govern for Arabic Speakers

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