gov·​ern·​ess ˈgə-vər-nəs How to pronounce governess (audio)
: a woman who governs
: 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 The first of the novel’s many victims of illusion is Elisa’s grandmother Cesira, a governess who seduces a local nobleman named Teodoro with the aim of rising above her station. Jess Bergman, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2023 Advertisement The highlight of both McFadzean’s script and the production is the authentic depiction of governess Jane Eyre, an outspoken, strong-willed and coltish woman who doesn’t conform to the societal mores for women of that period. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Oct. 2023 Starring Ryan Paevey, Cindy Busby, and Frances Fisher. 15 of 20 A Crown for Christmas A young woman accepts a position as a governess for a European princess after getting fired from her maid position at a ritzy New York hotel. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 27 Oct. 2023 The iconic 1965 musical stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as a spunky governess and a strict father of seven who fall in love in Austria against the backdrop of the start of World War II. Jaden Thompson, Variety, 27 Sep. 2023 The Duke of York was educated by a governess before attending Heatherdown School in Ascot and eventually, like his brother and father, Gordonstoun. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, 8 Sep. 2022 Make the governess Carlotta (Suli Holum) into a sunflower-seed-spitting rabble-rouser among the servants? Helen Shaw, Vulture, 14 May 2022 Curie would work as a governess and support Bronislawa’s medical school studies. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, 16 Dec. 2022 Her mother and governess both had German roots, so Victoria grew up speaking the language and later used it frequently when speaking to her German husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, 19 May 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near governess

Cite this Entry

“Governess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


gov·​ern·​ess ˈgəv-ər-nəs How to pronounce governess (audio)
: a woman who teaches and trains a child in a private home
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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