gov·​ern·​ess | \ ˈgə-vər-nəs How to pronounce governess (audio) \

Definition of governess

1 : a woman who governs
2 : a woman who cares for and supervises a child especially in a private household

Examples of governess in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Having wanted to come to America, Kjellfrid Irene got a job as a governess for a family living in Houston. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Renée Zellweger captures an Oscar for ‘Judy,’ becoming the third Texan to be awarded best actress," 10 Feb. 2020 Some see the governess as an unreliable narrator, who may have imagined the ghosts of Ms. Jessel and Quint, and possibly even killed Miles herself. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Explaining That Mindbending Ending Of The Turning," 24 Jan. 2020 Once scolded by her childhood governess for being too extroverted, Salka put that very quality to work in saving countless lives. Ruth Franklin, Harper's magazine, "Salka the Salonnière," 6 Jan. 2020 This secures Sue in her resolve to move to Boston and become a governess. Kristin Vartan,, "The Dickinson recap binge guide: Episodes 1-10," 11 Nov. 2019 The governess starts to suspect the kids are being visited by ghostly apparitions. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "'The Haunting of Hill House' Season 2, 'The Haunting of Bly Manor': Everything We Know About the New Season," 23 Aug. 2019 Bands of pearls festoon their hair, in contrast to the gray-haired demeanor of their governess, a gentle figure peeking in from the right side. Deborah Solomon, New York Times, "Old Mistresses Turn Tables on Old Masters," 16 Dec. 2019 The plot: Two young orphans are cared for by a young governess, who narrates the story—and, well, things get creepy. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, "'The Haunting of Hill House' Season 2: Everything We Know So Far," 4 Dec. 2019 Would Lillian like to play governess to her two stepchildren? Leah Greenblatt,, "These brilliant new novels offer irresistible family dysfunction," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'governess.' 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 governess

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for governess

Time Traveler

The first known use of governess was in the 15th century

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Statistics for governess

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Governess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce governess (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of governess

: a woman who is paid to care for and teach a child in the child's house


gov·​ern·​ess | \ ˈgə-vər-nəs How to pronounce governess (audio) \

Kids Definition of governess

: a woman who teaches and trains a child especially in a private home

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