government

noun, often attributive
gov·ern·ment | \ ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt , -və-mənt ; ˈgə-bᵊm-ənt , -vᵊm- \

Definition of government 

1 : the act or process of governing specifically : authoritative direction or control

2 obsolete : moral conduct or behavior : discretion

3a : the office, authority, or function of governing

b obsolete : the term during which a governing official holds office

4 : the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit : rule

5a : 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

6 : 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:

(1) : such a group in a parliamentary system constituted by the cabinet or by the ministry

(2) : administration sense 4b

7 : political science studied economics and government

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Other words from government

governmental \ˌgə-vər(n)-ˈmen-tᵊl \ adjective
governmentalize \ˌgə-vər(n)-ˈmen-tə-ˌlīz \ transitive verb
governmentally \ˌgə-vər(n)-ˈmen-tᵊl-ē \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The plant has permits to extract more than 300,000 gallons of water a day as part of a decades-old deal with the federal government that critics say is overly favorable to the plant’s owners. Oscar Lopez, BostonGlobe.com, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 In the Sun interview, Trump cast his lot with the Brexiteers, the conservative faction that wants a complete split with the European government in Brussels. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump's bombshell interview with UK tabloid threatens to overshadow visit to Britain," 13 July 2018 The British supported the Americans during the Spanish-American War in 1898, and the U.S. government — unlike most European nations — supported the British in the second Boer War (1899-1902). Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The 'Special Relationship' Between the U.S. and U.K. Is Unlike Any Other Alliance. Here's How It Got That Way," 13 July 2018 Puerto Ricans have complained that the U.S. government responded slowly after the storm battered the American territory. Washington Post, "In Senate race, Florida governor in balancing act with Trump," 13 July 2018 At this meeting, with the Cold War setting in, publishers once again decided to support the U.S. government. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 The Crusade Against Birth Control Begins This is also about the time when the U.S. government hopped on the anti-birth-control bandwagon that most of the monotheistic religions had been riding since the start of the modern period, Gordon says. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 The Hammonds, who run a ranch in eastern Oregon, have a long history of disputes with the federal government. New York Times, "How a Tycoon and Pence Friend Helped 2 Ranchers Get Pardons," 12 July 2018 Financial leverage Nationalists point to China’s $1.2 trillion holdings of U.S. government debt as leverage. San Antonio Express-News, "China’s options to hit US go beyond imports," 9 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of government

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for government

see govern

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Statistics for government

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for government

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

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More Definitions for government

government

noun

English Language Learners Definition of government

: the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.

: the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

government

noun
gov·ern·ment | \ ˈgə-vərn-mənt , -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- \

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

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