View synonyms for governor


[ guhv-er-ner, uh-ner ]


  1. the executive head of a state in the U.S.
  2. a person charged with the direction or control of an institution, society, etc.:

    the governors of a bank; the governor of a prison.

  3. Also called governor general. the representative of the crown, as in the Commonwealth of Nations.
  4. a ruler or chief magistrate appointed to govern a province, town, fort, or the like.
  5. Machinery. a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.
  6. British Informal.
    1. one's father.
    2. one's employer.
    3. any man of superior rank or status.


/ ˈɡʌvənə /


  1. a person who governs
  2. the ruler or chief magistrate of a colony, province, etc
  3. the representative of the Crown in a British colony
  4. the senior administrator or head of a society, prison, etc
  5. the chief executive of any state in the US
  6. a device that controls the speed of an engine, esp by regulating the supply of fuel, etc, either to limit the maximum speed or to maintain a constant speed
  7. Also calledhead grammar
    1. a word in a phrase or clause that is the principal item and gives the function of the whole, as hat in the big red hat
    2. ( as modifier )

      a governor noun

  8. informal.
    a name or title of respect for a father, employer, etc

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Pronunciation Note

In governor, the process of dissimilation—the tendency for neighboring like sounds to become unlike or for one of them to disappear entirely—commonly results in the loss of the first [r] of [guhv, -er-ner], producing the pronunciation [guhv, -, uh, -ner]. This pronunciation is heard even in regions where postvocalic [r] is not usually dropped. A further loss, of the medial unstressed vowel, results in [guhv, -ner]. All three pronunciations are standard. See colonel, February, library.

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Other Words From

  • sub·gover·nor noun
  • under·gover·nor noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of governor1

1250–1300; Middle English governour < Old French governeor, gouverneur < Latin gubernātōrem, accusative of gubernātor, equivalent to gubernā(re) to steer, govern + -tor -tor

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Example Sentences

Republicans are serving today as the governors of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont while Democrats govern Kansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky.

From Vox

A reporter asked whether the governor would consider special exceptions like San Diego’s seeking.

So, when the governor calls in the National Guard, it means that the state pays for the soldiers and the use of the equipment.

Since then, though, Biden has been clearer that this would be something he would press governors to implement.

Stephanopoulos noted Biden called on governors to implement the mandate.

Like many Americans—but few Republican presidential candidates—the former Florida governor has evolved on the issue.

The governor of Punjab province, a Muslim man, called publicly for leniency for her.

And now, similarly, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee: "Bend over and take it like a prisoner!"

Duke was a state representative whose neo-Nazi alliances were disgorged in media reports during his run for governor in 1991.

Abramoff said that the governor needed to remember to “be humble.”

In particular the Governor of Adinskoy offered us a guard of fifty men to the next station, if we apprehended any danger.

The governor of the fortress was provided with a safe residence in Egypt, and an annual pension of 75,000 piasters.

He recounts at much length the reasons for which he supposes the governor arrested him.

He shall serve among great men, and appear before the governor.

Messa urges the king to send a new governor, and gives his advice as to the character of him who should be sent.