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90s Slang You Should Know


[guhv-ern] /ˈgʌv ərn/
verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
to exercise the function of government.
to have predominating influence.
Origin of govern
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French gouverner < Latin gubernāre to steer (a ship) < Greek kybernân to steer
Related forms
governable, adjective
governability, governableness, noun
overgovern, verb (used with object)
regovern, verb (used with object)
supergovern, verb (used with object)
ungoverned, adjective
ungoverning, adjective
well-governed, adjective
1. reign. 2. control, sway, influence, conduct, supervise, superintend.
1. obey.
Synonym Study
1. See rule. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for well-governed
Historical Examples
  • The booths were planted in a cornfield, and the circuit of the fair, which was like a well-governed city, was over three miles.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • Will you, then, avoid these well-governed cities, and the best-ordered men?

  • Everything indicated that the capital of a civilized and well-governed country was close at hand.

  • Colombo is an especially well-regulated and well-governed town.

    The Pearl of India Maturin M. Ballou
  • It is because we wish you to be strong that we desire to see you rich, instructed, and well-governed.

    The Earl of Mayo William Wilson Hunter
  • There appears in the face of the woman a mixture of fear, hope, and modesty; in the bridegroom, a well-governed rapture.

  • When this training is reinforced by the well-governed school, a solid foundation for civic character is likely to be laid.

    Outlines of Educational Doctrine John Frederick Herbart
  • well-governed societies do not supply similar material because they rarely need to probe political fundamentals.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • It is a great mistake to think that our scholars are too young to appreciate a well-prepared lesson or a well-governed school.

    The Sabbath-School Index Richard Gay Pardee
  • Motive X. Lastly, consider, that holy, well-governed families are blessed with the special presence and favour of God.

British Dictionary definitions for well-governed


adjective (well governed when postpositive)
(of a political unit, organization, nation, etc) directed and controlled efficiently or satisfactorily


verb (mainly transitive)
(also intransitive) to direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of (a political unit, organization, nation, etc); rule
to exercise restraint over; regulate or direct: to 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
Derived Forms
governable, adjective
governability, governableness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French gouverner, from Latin gubernāre to steer, from Greek kubernan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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