gov·​er·​nance ˈgə-vər-nən(t)s How to pronounce governance (audio)
plural governances
: the act or process of governing or overseeing the control and direction of something (such as a country or an organization) : government
a centralized system of governance
the challenges of national governance
… the governance of amateur sport in America …P. S. Wood
… three years before he died, [Lionel] Trilling pressed the point that the way a nation thinks determines in the end the quality of its governance.Benjamin DeMott
Enron, and the corporate disasters that followed, forced many companies to get serious about governance.Louis Lavelle
Theirs was the perennial problem of quick-witted subjects under the governance of dull-witted administrators.Declan Kiberd
Michael Dukakis, at the 1988 Democratic convention, said governance was about competence, not ideology. He got it half right: Competence is important to governance, but ideology is critical …U.S. News & World Report

Example Sentences

They have very different approaches to the governance of the city. after World War II, the four Allied nations shared the governance of the territory of postwar Germany under the Allied Control Council
Recent Examples on the Web This movement accelerated in the wake of the 2007–08 financial crisis, when governance changes became a key focus. John Kell, Fortune, 15 May 2023 The results were a humbling blow for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the general who governed Thailand for almost nine years, the longest stretch of military governance in a nation used to coups. Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, 14 May 2023 The subject of agreement for the three candidates that has played heavily in their campaigns is criticism of companies with ESG practices, incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into their decisions — largely divestiture from the coal industry. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 12 May 2023 Kilicdaroglu also promised to return to orthodox economic policies and restore the parliamentary system of governance, reinstating the role of prime minister and reducing the powers of the president. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, 8 May 2023 It was assumed that this was merely a procedural formality like much of the monarch’s role in day-to-day governance. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 5 May 2023 Currently, the Fed generally does not require additional capital or liquidity beyond regulatory requirements for a firm with inadequate capital planning, liquidity risk management, or governance and controls. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 4 May 2023 Record inflation, new mandates and regulations, wage and price pressures, economic volatility, and international and national current events continue to increase the complexity of governance and cause additional impediments in the retention and recruitment of highly qualified employees. Baltimore Sun, 2 May 2023 Back then, most gatherings were banned and life in residential compounds was dominated by daily COVID-19 directives carried out by neighborhood committees – the lowest branch of governance in China. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'governance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see govern

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of governance was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near governance

Cite this Entry

“Governance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


gov·​er·​nance ˈgəv-ər-nən(t)s How to pronounce governance (audio)
: the exercise of control : government

More from Merriam-Webster on governance

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