[ goo-ber-nuh-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-, gyoo- ]
/ ˌgu bər nəˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-, ˌgyu- /
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of or relating to a state governor or the office of state governor.
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Origin of gubernatorial

1725–35, Americanism;<Latin gubernātōr- (stem of gubernātor) steersman, governor + -ial

Words nearby gubernatorial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does gubernatorial mean?

Gubernatorial is an adjective used to refer to things related to a state governor in the United States.

The word governor can mean different things in different places, but gubernatorial is primarily used in the U.S., where a governor is the executive head of a state. Gubernatorial is the adjective form of governor in the same way that presidential is the adjective form of president. And it’s used in all the same ways, especially in phrases like gubernatorial duties, gubernatorial debate, and gubernatorial race.

Example: It might not be as exciting as the presidential debate, but it’s still important to watch the gubernatorial debate.

Where does gubernatorial come from?

The first known record of gubernatorial comes from the 1700s, from a reference to the governor of the state of New Jersey. Both gubernatorial and governor derive from the Latin gubernātor, meaning “governor.” (Not to be confused with Governator, a nickname given to Arnold Schwarzenegger when he served as the governor of California in reference to the fact that he played the title character in the Terminator series of action movies.) Governor, govern, and government all further derive from the Latin verb gubernāre, meaning “to steer (a ship).”

In the U.S., the word governor refers to the person who steers the executive branch of a state government. Gubernatorial is used to refer to anything relating to this office, such as gubernatorial duties (which include approving the state budget) or the gubernatorial debate—the debate between a state’s gubernatorial candidates.

Gubernatorial is a fairly formal-sounding word, but it doesn’t have a one-word alternative (people don’t say governatorial), so it’s commonly used in journalism in news reports about the governor. However, in everyday conversation, people are probably more likely to say things like the race for governor than the gubernatorial race.

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What are some words that share a root or word element with gubernatorial


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How is gubernatorial used in real life?

Gubernatorial is most commonly found in news reports about and discussion of U.S. governors.



Try using gubernatorial!

Which of the following places would have a gubernatorial election?

A. the city of Boston
B. the state of Massachusetts
C. the New England region
D. the entire United States

How to use gubernatorial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gubernatorial

/ (ˌɡjuːbənəˈtɔːrɪəl, ˌɡuː-) /

mainly US of or relating to a governor

Word Origin for gubernatorial

C18: from Latin gubernātor governor
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