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

boss, captain, command, control, preside (over), rule, sway [archaic]

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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

Headed by Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education wants to eliminate laws governing for-profit trade and technical schools and roll back regulations protecting students against deceptive practices. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The State of American Trade Schools," 13 Mar. 2019 The weirdness extends to the amateur level, where golf’s governing bodies are hoping the rules change will speed up play. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Golf’s New Conundrum: Flagstick In or Out?," 24 Jan. 2019 The movement emerged from last year’s general election in Italy as the country’s largest single party and is now in a governing coalition. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "After Confronting Macron, France’s Yellow Vest Movement Turns on Itself," 23 Feb. 2019 Moreno said among his reasons for denying the water district’s motion is that its governing board is being largely replaced by new Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made the environment a top priority. Curt Anderson, The Seattle Times, "Judge won’t end decades-old Everglades cleanup oversight," 11 Feb. 2019 And though countries around the world are investing in the technology and research, there is no international framework governing this type of engineering. Angela Chen, The Verge, "If someone wants to create gene-edited babies, who would stop them?," 26 Nov. 2018 The Tenth House also governs public image, professional aspirations, and career achievements. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Bylaws should speak to how the corporation is governed – such as corporate powers and limits and board eligibility. Kelly G. Richardson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "HOA Homefront: Are these rules valid?," 14 July 2018 The resulting 42-page draft, published two months ago, is the first rewrite of OSHA regulations governing firefighter safety in decades. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near govern

gouty stem

gov

Gove

govern

governance

governante

governess

Statistics for govern

Last Updated

3 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for govern

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

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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 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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