government

noun

gov·​ern·​ment ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt How to pronounce government (audio)
-və-mənt;
ˈgə-bᵊm-ənt,
-vᵊm-
often attributive
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
2
a
: 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
6
a
: 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
governmental adjective
governmentalize transitive verb
governmentally adverb

Example Sentences

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 As Congress races toward the Dec. 16 deadline to fund the government, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is pushing to secure nearly half a billion dollars for Alaska projects as one of a handful of Senate Republicans who embraces earmarks. Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Nov. 2022 Lawmakers will grapple with must-pass funding One thing lawmakers must do in the coming weeks of the lame-duck session is fund the government. Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 28 Nov. 2022 Some activists sympathetic to the protesters wanted to ban Iran from the World Cup and replace it with Ukraine, saying the national team represented a corrupt government. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 Somalia says a foreign government helped to plan the attack. CNN, 28 Nov. 2022 The brief absence of the emblem came as monthslong demonstrations challenged Iran’s government following the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police. Jon Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Nov. 2022 The brief absence of the emblem came as monthslong demonstrations challenged Iran’s government following the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police. Jon Gambrell, Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov. 2022 The brief absence of the emblem came as monthslong demonstrations challenged Iran’s government following the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police. Time, 27 Nov. 2022 The violence also comes as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what’s expected to be Israel’s most right-wing government ever. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

see govern

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near government

Cite this Entry

“Government.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/government. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

government

noun

gov·​ern·​ment ˈgəv-ər(n)-mənt How to pronounce government (audio)
ˈgəb-ᵊm-ənt,
ˈgəv-mənt
1
a
: the act or process of governing
especially : direction of a political unit
b
: the making of policy as distinguished from the administration of policy decisions
2
a
: the agency through which a political unit exercises authority
b
: manner of governing : the institutions, laws, and customs through which a political unit is governed
republican government
3
a
: the officials making up the governing body of a political unit
b
capitalized : the executive branch of the U.S. federal government
4
government adjective
governmental adjective
governmentally adverb

Legal Definition

government

noun

gov·​ern·​ment ˈgə-vər-mənt, -vərn- How to pronounce government (audio)
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
4
a
: 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
governmental adjective
governmentally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on government

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ