[guhv-er-ner, ‐uh-ner]


the executive head of a state in the U.S.
a person charged with the direction or control of an institution, society, etc.: the governors of a bank; the governor of a prison.
Also called governor general. the representative of the crown, as in the Commonwealth of Nations.
a ruler or chief magistrate appointed to govern a province, town, fort, or the like.
Machinery. a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.
British Informal.
  1. one's father.
  2. one's employer.
  3. any man of superior rank or status.

Origin of governor

1250–1300; Middle English governour < Old French governeor, gouverneur < Latin gubernātōrem, accusative of gubernātor, equivalent to gubernā(re) to steer, govern + -tor -tor
Related formssub·gov·er·nor, nounun·der·gov·er·nor, noun

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] /r/ of [guhv-er-ner] /ˈgʌv ər nər/, producing the pronunciation [guhv-uh-ner] /ˈgʌv ə nər/. This pronunciation is heard even in regions where postvocalic [r] /r/ is not usually dropped. A further loss, of the medial unstressed vowel, results in [guhv-ner] /ˈgʌv nər/. All three pronunciations are standard. See colonel, February, library. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for governor

Contemporary Examples of governor

Historical Examples of governor

  • He was thirty years in my governor's service, and doesn't understand my ways.


    William J. Locke

  • And before you got off the beams, Andrew, the governor of this State will have signed a pardon for you.

  • The Governor won't be here for half an hour; bolt the door and have it out.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • When the Governor or President V-toes a bill, is he supposed to put his foot on it?

  • On the other side of the Rock you can read how Governor Nieto carried the faith to them.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

British Dictionary definitions for governor



a person who governs
the ruler or chief magistrate of a colony, province, etc
the representative of the Crown in a British colony
British the senior administrator or head of a society, prison, etc
the chief executive of any state in the US
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
Also called: head 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
British informal a name or title of respect for a father, employer, etc
Related formsRelated adjective: gubernatorial
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 governor

c.1300, gouernour, "personal keeper, protector, guide," from Old French governeor (11c., Modern French gouverneur) and directly from Latin gubernatorem (nominative gubernator) "director, ruler, governor," originally "steersman, pilot" (see govern). Meaning "subordinate ruler; head of a province, etc." is from late 14c. The adjective gubernatorial remembers the Latin form.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper