gov·er·nor | \ ˈgə-vᵊn-ər also ˈgə-vər-nər \

Definition of governor 

1 : one that governs: such as

a : one that exercises authority especially over an area or group

b : an official elected or appointed to act as ruler, chief executive, or nominal head of a political unit

c : commanding officer

d : the managing director and usually the principal officer of an institution or organization

e : a member of a group that directs or controls an institution or society

2 : tutor

3a slang : one looked upon as governing

b : mister, sir usually used as a term of address

4a : an attachment to a machine (such as a gasoline engine) for automatic control or limitation of speed

b : a device giving automatic control (as of pressure or temperature)

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Other words from governor

governorate \ˈgə-vᵊn-ər-ət, -ˌāt alsoˈgə-vər-nər- \ noun

Examples of governor in a Sentence

the governor of the state of Florida He was the chairman of the board of governors at the school. the governor of the Bank of England Wait here while I get the governor.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee for governor, made an appearance at the beginning of the hearing. Michael Dresser,, "Thousands of Maryland voters may have skipped primary because of MVA election error," 13 July 2018 Democratic strategist Steve Schale, however, pointed out that Scott successfully campaigned for governor in 2010 by linking the Democratic nominee to Obama. Washington Post, "In Senate race, Florida governor in balancing act with Trump," 13 July 2018 That's why Engage 18 held a forum in March that included several of the Democrats running for governor in Michigan. Lori Higgins And Janea Wilson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan student activists take on voter registration, gun violence," 12 July 2018 Lucas, a fellow Indiana native, is a generous donor to Republican candidates, including to Pence, who received at least $50,000 from Lucas and his wife when Pence was running for governor of Indiana. Matt Pearce,, "Pardoned by Trump, Oregon ranchers ride home in style on Pence ally's private jet," 12 July 2018 Also running for governor is Springfield Republican Scott Lively, a pastor best known for his antigay views. Joshua Miller,, "Gonzalez, Massie get cash infusion from public financing," 12 July 2018 The county supported Democrat John Gregg over Republican Mike Pence for governor. Seth Slabaugh, Indianapolis Star, "Sen. Joe Donnelly needs to keep his pro-Trump voters. But can he?," 12 July 2018 Her subsequent campaign for governor serves as a cautionary tale. Andrew Rice, Daily Intelligencer, "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas?," 10 July 2018 Kobach is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in that election, challenging incumbent Jeff Colyer. Roxana Hegeman, The Seattle Times, "Kansas official follows order, registers thousands to vote," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'governor.' 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 governor

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for governor

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for governor

The first known use of governor was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of governor

: a person who is the leader of the government of a state, province, etc.

: a person who is part of a group of people who control a large organization, school, etc.

: a person who is in charge of a school, prison, or other large organization or institution


gov·er·nor | \ ˈgə-vər-nər , ˈgə-və-nər \

Kids Definition of governor

: a person who governs and especially the elected head of a state of the United States


gov·er·nor | \ ˈgə-vər-nər \

Legal Definition of governor 

: one that governs: as

a : one that exercises authority especially over an area or group

b : an official elected or appointed to act as ruler, chief executive, or nominal head of a political unit specifically : the chief executive of a U.S. state

c : the managing director and usually the principal officer of an institution or organization

d : a member of a group that controls or directs an institution the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors

Other words from governor

governorship noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on governor

Spanish Central: Translation of governor

Nglish: Translation of governor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of governor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about governor

Comments on governor

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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