- to rule over by right of authority: to govern a nation.
- to exercise a directing or restraining influence over; guide: the motives governing a decision.
- to hold in check; control: to govern one's temper.
- to serve as or constitute a law for: the principles governing a case.
- Grammar. to 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.
- to regulate the speed of (an engine) with a governor.
- to exercise the function of government.
- to have predominating influence.
Origin of govern
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (also intr) to direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of (a political unit, organization, nation, etc); rule
- to exercise restraint over; regulate or directto govern one's temper
- to be a predominant influence on (something); decide or determine (something)his injury governed his decision to avoid sports
- to control the speed of (an engine, machine, etc) using a governor
- to control the rate of flow of (a fluid) by using an automatic valve
- (of a word) to determine the inflection of (another word)Latin nouns govern adjectives that modify them
Word Origin and History for well governed
late 13c., from Old French governer (11c., Modern French gouverner) "govern," from Latin gubernare "to direct, rule, guide, govern" (cf. Spanish gobernar, Italian governare), originally "to steer," a nautical borrowing from Greek kybernan "to steer or pilot a ship, direct" (the root of cybernetics). The -k- to -g- sound shift is perhaps via the medium of Etruscan. Related: Governed; governing.