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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from government

governmental \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce governmental (audio) \ adjective
governmentalize \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce governmentalize (audio) \ transitive verb
governmentally \ ˌgə-​vər(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce governmentally (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 The enduring vacancy at Liberty Crossing is indicative of an increasingly hollowed-out executive rank in government that will surely only worsen this year. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "How Trump Hollowed Out US National Security," 21 Feb. 2020 Both wrecks have been designated as historic sites by the Canadian government and a Parks Canada permit is required to access them. Fox News, "Shipwreck from doomed 1840s Royal Navy Arctic expedition reveals its secrets," 21 Feb. 2020 There are certainly people in government and the non-profit world, as well as tenants themselves, who are asserting their rights. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In California: A Trump visit, a profiteering slumlord and a trusting tiger," 19 Feb. 2020 Third, Hillary Clinton’s last job in government was an ethical disaster. John Fund, National Review, "There’s Zero Chance Bloomberg Would Pick Hillary," 16 Feb. 2020 Issuing bonds is a common way for governments and non-profit institutions like colleges to raise cash. oregonlive, "Did Concordia get shut down because it was too progressive on gay rights?," 14 Feb. 2020 So far, only U.S. government spending has funded Trump’s wall. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Trump Wants to Trade New F-35s for Tech From the Bronze Age," 14 Feb. 2020 With governments and malicious actors having covert access to phone networks, individuals can rely on encryption to lessen the risk of their data being stolen. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Huawei fires back, points to US’ history of spying on phone networks," 12 Feb. 2020 There were officials in the Chinese municipal government who clearly were either asleep at the switch or in some denial mode, because the outbreak should not have gotten to this point. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Epidemiologist Veteran of SARS and MERS Shares Coronavirus Insights after China Trip," 12 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of government

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for government

see govern

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about government

Time Traveler for government

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for government

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Government.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/government. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for government

government

noun
How to pronounce government (audio)

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on government

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!