What does govern mean?

Definitions for govern
ˈgʌv ərngov·ern

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word govern.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. regulate, regularize, regularise, order, governverb

    bring into conformity with rules or principles or usage; impose regulations

    "We cannot regulate the way people dress"; "This town likes to regulate"

  2. governverb

    direct or strongly influence the behavior of

    "His belief in God governs his conduct"

  3. govern, ruleverb

    exercise authority over; as of nations

    "Who is governing the country now?"

  4. governverb

    require to be in a certain grammatical case, voice, or mood

    "most transitive verbs govern the accusative case in German"


  1. governverb

    To make and administer the public policy and affairs of; to exercise sovereign authority in.

  2. governverb

    To control the actions or behavior of; to keep under control; to restrain.

  3. governverb

    To exercise a deciding or determining influence on.

    Chance usually governs the outcome of the game.

  4. governverb

    To control the speed, flow etc. of; to regulate.

    a valve that governs fuel intake.

  5. governverb

    To exercise political authority; to run a government.

  6. governverb

    To have or exercise a determining influence.

  7. governverb

    To require that a certain preposition, grammatical case, etc. be used with a word; sometimes used synonymously with collocate.

  8. Etymology: and governer, guberno, from κυβερνάω

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To GOVERNverb

    Etymology: gouverner, French; guberno, Latin.

    This inconvenience is more hard to be redressed in the governor than the governed; as a malady in a vital part is more incurable than in an external. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    Slaves to our passions we become, and then
    It grows impossible to govern men. Edmund Waller.

    The welfare of that is the chief point, which he is to carry always in his eye, and by which he is to govern all his counsels, designs, and actions. Francis Atterbury, Sermons.

    Go after her, she’s desperate; govern her. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

  2. To Governverb

    To keep superiority; to behave with haughtiness.

    By that rule,
    Your wicked atoms may be working now
    To give bad counsel, that you still may govern. Dryden.


  1. govern

    To govern means to conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of a state, organization, or people with authority. It may also refer to control, influence, or regulate a particular action, course, or process. Additionally, it suggests to rule over a political unit, such as a nation, state, or a city.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Governverb

    to direct and control, as the actions or conduct of men, either by established laws or by arbitrary will; to regulate by authority

  2. Governverb

    to regulate; to influence; to direct; to restrain; to manage; as, to govern the life; to govern a horse

  3. Governverb

    to require to be in a particular case; as, a transitive verb governs a noun in the objective case; or to require (a particular case); as, a transitive verb governs the objective case

  4. Governverb

    to exercise authority; to administer the laws; to have the control

  5. Etymology: [OF. governer, F. gouverner, fr. L. gubernare to steer, pilot, govern, Gr. kyberna^n. Cf. Gubernatorial.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Govern

    guv′ėrn, v.t. to direct: to control: to rule with authority: (gram.) to determine the mood, tense, or case of.—v.i. to exercise authority: to administer the laws.—adj. Gov′ernable.—ns. Gov′ernall (Spens.), government; Gov′ernance, government: control: direction: behaviour; Governante (guv-ėr-nant′, or guv′-), a governess (obs.); Gov′erness, a lady who has charge of the instruction of young ladies: a tutoress (Daily-governess, one who goes every day to her pupils' house; Nursery-, having charge of young children only, tending as well as teaching them; Resident-, living in the family of her pupils).—v.i. to act as governess.—n. Gov′erness-cart, a light two-wheeled vehicle with two face-to-face seats at the sides only.—adj. Gov′erning, having control.—n. Gov′ernment, a ruling or managing: control: system of governing: the body of persons authorised to administer the laws, or to govern a state: the territory over which sovereign power extends: (gram.) the power of one word in determining the form of another: (Shak.) conduct.—adj. of or pursued by government.—adj. Government′al, pertaining to or sanctioned by government.—ns. Gov′ernor, a ruler: one invested with supreme authority: a tutor: (slang) a father or master: (mach.) a regulator, or contrivance for maintaining uniform velocity with a varying resistance: (B.) a pilot; Gov′ernor-gen′eral, the supreme governor in a country: a viceroy; Gov′ernorship.—Governmental theory (see Grotian). [O. Fr. governer—L. gubernāre—Gr. kybernan.]

Editors Contribution

  1. govern

    To create, direct and manage using unifying, just, fair, ethical and moral thought, behavior, actions and all forms of unity governmental legislation.

    All forms of unity government throughout a country create with a sense of ethics and morality to govern a nation with respect and dignity and ensure all people have optimum health, human rights, right to life and a fair share of income, wealth and resources.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  

  2. govern

    To direct and manage.

    The board of directors did govern justly and effectively.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 7, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. govern

    The govern symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the govern symbol and its characteristic.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Govern is ranked #71478 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Govern surname appeared 273 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Govern.

    88.2% or 241 total occurrences were White.
    4.7% or 13 total occurrences were Black.
    2.9% or 8 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.5% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'govern' in Verbs Frequency: #622

How to pronounce govern?

How to say govern in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of govern in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of govern in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of govern in a Sentence

  1. Pete Buttigieg:

    I believe that good policy is good politics, i believe that at the end of the day, the whole point of campaigning and elections is that is if you win them, you get to govern.

  2. Jeremy Corbyn:

    Theresa May has now accepted what the country has known for months : Theresa May can not govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party, the Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people's lives or deal with their most pressing needs. Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country.

  3. Gordon Derrick:

    I don't think there is a black eye on the Caribbean per se, or that because these two( cases) happened back to back and therefore no-one else can do it. I think that would be unfair, yes the confidence( in the Caribbean) will be down, but we are a proud people from a proud area, who have ability ; who can govern and who are intelligent. So if someone from the Caribbean steps up, they will step up and do well.

  4. Riccardo Molinari:

    The longer we govern with 5-Star, the more it enters the public conscience and it would be hard to understand why the League would run with the center-right.

  5. Charles De Gaulle:

    To govern is always to choose among disadvantages.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for govern

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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