American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A woman employed to educate and train the children of a private household.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A woman invested with authority to control and direct; a female ruler: also used figuratively.
- n. Specifically A woman who has the care of instructing and directing children; an instructress: generally applied to one who teaches children in their own homes.
- To play the governess; act as governess: as, to go out governessing.
- To control or direct as a governess.
- n. A woman paid to educate children in their own home.
- v. To work as governess; to educate children in their own home.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A female governor; a woman invested with authority to control and direct; especially, one intrusted with the care and instruction of children, -- usually in their homes.
- n. a woman entrusted with the care and supervision of a child (especially in a private home)
- Middle English governesse, short for governouresse, from Old French governeresse, feminine of governeor, governor, from Latin gubernātor; see gubernatorial. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The word governess appealed to him; it meant that she had to do with wealthy people, at least.”
“A governess is a very nice thing," said the doctor, taking off his hat and leaning back against the iron railing, – "if she knows properly how to set people to play.”
“The governess was a tightly corseted young woman of unremarkable appearance.”
“Crime writers even as recently as the 1980's still believe that Samuel Kent father of Saville and the governess were the real killers of the child.”
“The prosecutor called a governess who testified that as a child of five, Marguerite often lied.”
“The nurse in charge was in uniform, the governess was a much put-upon person.”
“A governess might be a servant, but she was a privileged one.”
“The top floor was occupied by the nanny, a lodger, and a woman who ... well, the constable supposed she'd be called a governess although the family didn't call her that.”
“He, his wife and their governess were the only English people I met; the only people, indeed, with whom I did more than exchange bare civilities.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘governess’.
words with the suffix -ess
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