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 also  ˈgə-​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

Walker’s views are far outside of the mainstream, and that’s why Wisconsin needs a new governor who can be counted on to respect women’s medical decisions and protect Wisconsin’s families from exorbitant healthcare fees. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scott Walker says he doubts Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick would overturn abortion ruling," 13 July 2018 Kentucky joined the Medicare expansion under a Democratic governor in 2014. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Federal Judge Blocks Work Requirements for Medicaid, Thwarting Trump," 29 June 2018 Around 21,000 families have returned to Homs in the last two years, according to its governor, Talal al-Barazi. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 Day and three other lawyers opposed McNabb, a Democrat who was appointed by a Republican governor. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Adkins-Tobin gets on November ballot to oppose sitting judges," 28 June 2018 Until 1948, all our governors were appointed by the U.S. government. Erika P. Rodriguez, Smithsonian, "The Slow Recovery in Puerto Rico," 27 June 2018 David Garcia, a Democratic candidate for governor, held a fundraiser this week at the San Francisco home of Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who is spending part of his fortune to influence Arizona’s elections. Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic, "AZ gubernatorial hopeful David Garcia holds fundraiser at Tom Steyer's San Francisco home," 27 June 2018 But the Democratic field is the one to watch, as Colorado tends to elect Democratic governors. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Colorado primary election 2018 live results: governor and key House races," 26 June 2018 At that time the Court was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, who had served two and a half terms as governor of California before his appointment by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Longreads, "The Bungled Bank Robbery That Ended in a Landmark Legal Ruling," 26 June 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

6 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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