govern

verb
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \
governed; governing; governs

Definition of govern

transitive verb

1a : to exercise continuous sovereign authority over especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy in The country was governed by a king.
b : to rule without sovereign power and usually without having the authority to determine basic policy
2a archaic : manipulate
b : to control the speed of (a machine) especially by automatic means
3a : to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of
b : to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over income must govern expenditure
c : to hold in check : restrain was told to govern her emotions
4 : to require (a word) to be in a certain case
5 : to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for customs that govern human decisions

intransitive verb

1 : to prevail or have decisive influence : control In all situations allow reason to govern.
2 : to exercise authority

Other Words from govern

governable \ ˈgə-​vər-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce govern (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for govern

Synonyms

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Examples of govern in a Sentence

The tribe is governed by a 10-member council. They want to form their own country and govern themselves. The scandal limited her ability to govern effectively. How would he govern if he were elected president? She suggested changing the state's laws governing the sale of alcohol. The council governs fishing in the region. We will be studying the forces that govern the Earth's climate. Tradition governs all aspects of their lives. He allows himself to be governed by his emotions. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Neidig said the executive committee will spend time discussing its policy to govern participation of transgender athletes. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 21 June 2022 Its ranks included ultranationalist right-wingers, pro-peace leftists, centrists, and, for the first time ever, an Arab Israeli political faction, all coming together to govern. Neri Zilber, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2022 The declaration gives the mayor the ability to govern by proclamation and impose regulations as needed, per state law. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, 13 June 2022 Needing 76 seats in the lower Parliamentary chamber, the House of Representatives, to govern in its own right, Labor on Sunday afternoon was being called the winner in 71, with 67% of votes counted, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Trevor Marshallsea, BostonGlobe.com, 22 May 2022 During a campaign swing last month, Mr. Kemp told about 60 supporters at a restaurant in Dawsonville, Ga., that Mr. Biden’s first year in office shows how Ms. Abrams might govern. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, 22 May 2022 But whether Macron will be able to actually govern the country will depend on elections to the lower house of France's parliament, the National Assembly, which begin this Sunday and conclude with the second round one week later. David Faris, The Week, 10 June 2022 Democracies differ over how to govern politicians’ behavior. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 June 2022 For one, Bukele is looking to get re-elected in two years, in June 2024, and govern for another five years after that. Fortune, 8 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of govern

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for govern

Middle English, from Anglo-French governer, from Latin gubernare to steer, govern, from Greek kybernan

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Time Traveler for govern

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near govern

Gove

govern

governance

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Statistics for govern

Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Govern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/govern. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for govern

govern

verb
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \
governed; governing

Kids Definition of govern

2 : to influence the actions and conduct of : control "… a kind word will govern me …"— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
3 : to serve as a rule for Laws governing the Internet are changing.

govern

transitive verb
gov·​ern | \ ˈgə-vərn How to pronounce govern (audio) \

Legal Definition of govern

1 : to exercise continuous sovereign authority over especially : to control and direct the administration of policy in
2 : to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over the testator's assets are governed by will substitutes— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.
3 : to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for the law governing bills of lading United States v. Leon governs the case at bar

Other Words from govern

governable \ ˈgə-​vər-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce govern (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on govern

Nglish: Translation of govern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of govern for Arabic Speakers

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