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 follows two orphans looked after by a young governess named Dani (played by Pedretti). Nick Romano,, "The Haunting of Bly Manor," 28 Aug. 2019 Traveling with her governess Jean McVittie of Govans was 9-year-old Joan Hecht, a fifth-grade Park School student and Pikesville resident who was the great-great-granddaughter of Samuel Hecht, founder of the department store that bore his name. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "Remembering the Pikesville girl who survived a German torpedoing," 23 Aug. 2019 The Turn of the Screw, which features the tale of two orphans looked after by a young governess, who acts as the story’s narrator. Nick Romano,, "Haunting of Hill House star returning as new character for season 2's Bly Manor setting," 28 June 2019 The school, founded in 1984, trains and places professional governesses and nannies. Cory Shaffer,, "Judge doubles award to pair who sued Chagrin Falls nanny school over sex abuse cover-up," 11 June 2019 Piero della Francesca’s Madonna del parto is housed in Monterchi, Italy, and would apparently cause a German governess to emote. María Gainza, Harper's magazine, "Both Sides Now," 10 May 2019 Ada’s lessons, delivered by a governess, lasted precisely 15 minutes. Abigail Deutsch, WSJ, "‘In Byron’s Wake’ Review: Lout and Ladies," 13 Dec. 2018 Almost Hitchcock-like is the account of Shchukin’s second wife, their daughter Irina and the governess making their escape west on the Ukraine train. E.a. Carmean Jr., WSJ, "‘The Collector’ Review: Before the Fall," 7 Dec. 2018 In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews stars as Maria, a young nun in an Austrian convent who is sent away to be governess for the children of the widowed Captain Von Trapp. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande Remixes "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things" For New Song "7 Rings"," 18 Jan. 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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Statistics for governess

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for governess

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on governess

Spanish Central: Translation of governess

Nglish: Translation of governess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of governess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on governess

What made you want to look up governess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


agony, or difficult or painful work

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