UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈgʌvərn/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/ˈgʌvɚn/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(guvərn)

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
gov•ern /ˈgʌvɚn/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. Governmentto rule by right of authority, as a king or queen or elected administrator does: [+ object]to govern a nation.[no object]I'm sure he governs fairly.
  2. to exercise a directing or restraining influence over; control:[+ object]the motives that govern a decision.
  3. to hold in check;
    control:[+ object]to govern one's temper.
gov•ern•a•ble, adj. 
gov•ern•ance /ˈgʌvɚnəns/USA pronunciation  n. [uncountable]

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
gov•ern  (guvərn),USA pronunciation v.t. 
  1. Governmentto rule over by right of authority:to govern a nation.
  2. to exercise a directing or restraining influence over;
    guide:the motives governing a decision.
  3. to hold in check;
    control:to govern one's temper.
  4. to serve as or constitute a law for:the principles governing a case.
  5. Grammarto be regularly accompanied by or require the use of (a particular form). In They helped us, the verb helped governs the objective case of the pronoun we.
  6. Mechanical Engineeringto regulate the speed of (an engine) with a governor.

  1. Governmentto exercise the function of government.
  2. to have predominating influence.
govern•a•ble, adj. 
gov′ern•a•bili•ty, govern•a•ble•ness, n. 
  • Greek kybernân to steer
  • Latin gubernāre to steer (a ship)
  • Old French gouverner
  • Middle English 1250–1300
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged reign. See  rule. 
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged control, sway, influence, conduct, supervise, superintend.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged obey.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
govern /ˈɡʌvən/ vb (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of (a political unit, organization, nation, etc); rule
  2. to exercise restraint over; regulate or direct: to govern one's temper
  3. to be a predominant influence on (something); decide or determine (something): his injury governed his decision to avoid sports
  4. to control the speed of (an engine, machine, etc) using a governor
  5. to control the rate of flow of (a fluid) by using an automatic valve
  6. (of a word) to determine the inflection of (another word): Latin nouns govern adjectives that modify them
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French gouverner, from Latin gubernāre to steer, from Greek kubernan

ˈgovernable adj
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