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 The story is told from the perspective of an unnamed governess who takes a job caring for two young orphans at a remote country home. Sabienna Bowman,, "There’s Some Spooky Literary History Behind The Turning," 23 Jan. 2020 She, in turn, was able to contact relatives who produced a family album including a photo of the governess. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Research Reveals Vincent Van Gogh’s Artistic Governess," 1 Oct. 2019 For the unfamiliar, Emma’s struggle begins in finding a new companion after marrying off her governess. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'Emma.' — A period piece for the 'Clueless' generation with Anya Taylor-Joy," 26 Feb. 2020 Then the designers played with essentially three elements — cabaret sequins; maroon and cream striped governess shirting; and camo — mixing and matching them in the tropes of historical grandeur and red-light districts. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Seeing the Oscar Challenge to Fashion Week and Raising It One," 10 Feb. 2020 Their busy careers left Carrie and her brother to be raised by a grandmother and a governess, home at times their mother’s hotel rooms. Douglass K. Daniel,, "Review: Carrie Fisher bio as sharp, endearing as its subject," 31 Dec. 2019 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

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

4 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Governess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for governess


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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