government

noun, often attributive
gov·​ern·​ment | \ ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt How to pronounce government (audio) , -və-mənt; ˈgə-bᵊm-ənt, -vᵊm- \

Definition of government

1 : the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization: such as
a : the officials comprising the governing body of a political unit and constituting the organization as an active agency The government was slow to react to the crisis.
b capitalized : the executive branch of the U.S. federal government
c capitalized : a small group of persons holding simultaneously the principal political executive offices of a nation or other political unit and being responsible for the direction and supervision of public affairs:
(2) : such a group in a parliamentary system constituted by the cabinet or by the ministry
2a : the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it She works for the federal government.
b : the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which the function of governing is carried out
3 : the act or process of governing specifically : authoritative direction or control
4 : the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit : rule
5 : political science studied economics and government
6a : the office, authority, or function of governing
b obsolete : the term during which a governing official holds office
7 obsolete : moral conduct or behavior : discretion

Other Words from government

governmental \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce government (audio) \ adjective
governmentalize \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce government (audio) \ transitive verb
governmentally \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce government (audio) \ adverb

Examples of government in a Sentence

The government has been slow to react to the crisis. She works for the federal government. We need to improve relations with foreign governments. He is a firm believer in democratic government. We learned about different methods of government. The country has been damaged by many years of weak government. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Under this measure, two guardians were appointed to the river: a representative of the Maori indigenous people and a representative of the government. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 20 May 2022 Once there was a gubernatorial candidate in California who was widely considered too inexperienced and extreme — on the size and role of government, racial issues, foreign policy — to ever be electable. Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2022 For critics of Republican rule in South Dakota’s Statehouse, the revelation of the meeting’s details provided an egregious example of how the fate of bills and the workings of state government are often decided in closed-door GOP meetings. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 18 May 2022 When the institutions of government hollow out, what’s left is the chase for these cheap gratifications, removing the last self-restraints from those in power. George Packer, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 In their phone conversation this weekend, Hewitt said, Garland pledged a whole-of-government response and pointed to the White House’s release last summer of a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. David Nakamura, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 Similar vacancies persist across virtually all areas of state government. Stephanie Smith, Baltimore Sun, 18 May 2022 Evans Revere, a former US diplomat who has been in and out of government over the past 50 years, with stints on both the Korea and Japan desks, has watched the sourness of the relationship undermine alliances over a period of decades. Paula Hancocks, CNN, 18 May 2022 Well, also way up there, on my list: the role of judges in the American system of government. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 17 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'government.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of government

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for government

see govern

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Time Traveler for government

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near government

governless

government

governmental atonement

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Statistics for government

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Government.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/government. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for government

government

noun
gov·​ern·​ment | \ ˈgə-vərn-mənt How to pronounce government (audio) , -vər-mənt \

Kids Definition of government

1 : control and direction of public business (as of a city or a nation) The mayor makes decisions regarding the government of city departments.
2 : a system of control : an established form of political rule a democratic government
3 : the people making up a governing body Their governments are committed to peace.

Other Words from government

governmental \ ˌgə-​vərn-​ˈmen-​t-​ᵊl , -​vər-​ˈmen-​tᵊl \ adjective

government

noun
gov·​ern·​ment | \ ˈgə-vər-mənt, -vərn- How to pronounce government (audio) \

Legal Definition of government

1 : the act or process of governing specifically : authoritative direction or control
2 : the office, authority, or function of governing
3 : the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit : rule
4a : the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it
b : the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which the function of governing is carried out
5 : the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization: as
a : the officials comprising the governing body of a political unit and constituting the organization as an active agency
b capitalized : the executive branch of the U.S. federal government
c : the prosecution in a criminal case in its capacity as agents of the political unit the government failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

Other Words from government

governmental adjective
governmentally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on government

Nglish: Translation of government for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of government for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about government

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