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 Sister André, who was a governess in Paris before committing herself to the Sisters of Charity, was born in 1904 and survived the pandemic of 1918, two world wars and a bout of Covid. New York Times, "Is Baked Alaska the Secret to a Long Life?," 31 Mar. 2021 Much is also left underexplained about the school’s devoted governess, Miss Rocholl (Judi Dench, fine as always), and her right-hand teacher, the sinister Ilse (Carla Juri). Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Eddie Izzard stars in the perfunctory spy thriller ‘Six Minutes to Midnight’," 24 Mar. 2021 Partners of the firm, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck escaped, carrying with them over an adjoining roof Blanck’s two young daughters and a governess. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: 1911 Triangle factory fire caused outrage, led to reforms," 26 Mar. 2021 Eddie Izzard stars as a British agent sent undercover to convince the governess (Judi Dench) to hire him as the girls' new English teacher. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream this weekend: 'The Father' with Anthony Hopkins, Netflix's 'A Week Away'," 26 Mar. 2021 De Zwart said her mother told her stories about training at an academy to become a governess and traveling to Amsterdam because there was no work in Urk. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, "How a picture in a newspaper unlocked childhood mysteries for two Holocaust survivors," 5 Mar. 2021 After getting fired from her job as a maid at a ritzy New York City hotel, a woman accepts a temporary job as governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful European family. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘Gandhi’; ‘Forrest Gump’ and more," 26 Feb. 2021 Grant worked as a cook for the Greens during high school, and came back to work on weekends as a governess, teaching children there, while in college. David Anderson,, "Janice Grant, a Black civil rights activist who helped desegregate Harford schools, never wants to stop teaching," 24 Feb. 2021 But the gem of the collection is a portrait of his portly Swiss-French governess, Mademoiselle, who specialized in feeling proud and miserable. Phillip Lopate, WSJ, "Five Best: Essay Collections," 11 Dec. 2020

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

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

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Statistics for governess

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Governess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for governess



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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