[guhv-ern-muh nt, ‐er-muh nt]


Origin of government

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Old French word governement. See govern, -ment
Related formsgov·ern·men·tal [guhv-ern-men-tl, ‐er-men‐] /ˌgʌv ərnˈmɛn tl, ‐ərˈmɛn‐/, adjectivegov·ern·men·tal·ly, adverbcoun·ter·gov·ern·ment, nounnon·gov·ern·ment, nounnon·gov·ern·men·tal, adjectivepro-gov·ern·ment, adjectivere·gov·ern·ment, nounsem·i·gov·ern·men·tal, adjectivesem·i·gov·ern·men·tal·ly, adverbsub·gov·ern·ment, nounun·der·gov·ern·ment, nounun·gov·ern·men·tal, adjectiveun·gov·ern·men·tal·ly, adverb

Usage note

Pronunciation note

Normal phonological processes are reflected in a variety of pronunciations for government. Most commonly, the first [n] /n/ of [guhv-ern-muh nt] /ˈgʌv ərn mənt/ assimilates to the immediately following [m] /m/, with the resulting identical nasal sounds coalescing to give the pronunciation [guhv-er-muh nt] /ˈgʌv ər mənt/. This pronunciation is considered standard and occurs throughout the U.S. For speakers in regions where postvocalic [r] /r/ is regularly lost, as along the Eastern Seaboard and in the South, the resulting pronunciation is [guhv-uh-muh nt] /ˈgʌv ə mənt/ or, with loss of the medial unstressed vowel, [guhv-muh nt] /ˈgʌv mənt/. Further assimilation, in which the labiodental [v] /v/, in anticipation of the bilabial quality of the following [m] /m/, becomes the bilabial stop [b] /b/, leads in the South Midland and Southern U.S. to the pronunciation [guhb-muh nt] /ˈgʌb mənt/. See isn't. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for governmental

Contemporary Examples of governmental

Historical Examples of governmental

  • When are the names of governmental bodies, departments, etc., capitalized?


    Frederick W. Hamilton

  • The question of governmental control of industry is an example.

  • He occupied all governmental offices, and was the arbitrator of domestic life.

    Mizora: A Prophecy

    Mary E. Bradley

  • There is nothing like it for giving commands or for governmental purposes.

    Virgin Soil

    Ivan S. Turgenev

  • Fomishka and Fimishka had a horror of governmental, that is to say, official people.

    Virgin Soil

    Ivan S. Turgenev

British Dictionary definitions for governmental



the exercise of political authority over the actions, affairs, etc, of a political unit, people, etc, as well as the performance of certain functions for this unit or body; the action of governing; political rule and administration
the system or form by which a community, etc, is ruledtyrannical government
  1. the executive policy-making body of a political unit, community, etc; ministry or administrationyesterday we got a new government
  2. (capital when of a specific country)the British Government
  1. the state and its administrationblame it on the government
  2. (as modifier)a government agency
regulation; direction
grammar the determination of the form of one word by another word
Derived Formsgovernmental (ˌɡʌvənˈmɛntəl, ˌɡʌvəˈmɛntəl), adjectivegovernmentally, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for governmental

1774, from government + -al (1). Related: Governmentally. A Middle English word in the same sense was gubernatif (late 14c.).



late 14c., "act of governing or ruling;" 1550s, "system by which a thing is governed" (especially a state), from Old French governement (Modern French gouvernement), from governer (see govern). Replaced Middle English governance. Meaning "governing power" in a given place is from 1702.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper