Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make and administer the public policy and affairs of (a state, for example); exercise sovereign authority over.
  • intransitive verb To control the speed or magnitude of; regulate.
  • intransitive verb To control the actions or behavior of.
  • intransitive verb To keep under control; restrain.
  • intransitive verb To exercise a deciding or determining influence on.
  • intransitive verb Grammar To require (a specific morphological form) of accompanying words.
  • intransitive verb To exercise political authority.
  • intransitive verb To have or exercise a determining influence.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To exercise a directing or restraining power over; control or guide: used of any exertion of controlling force, whether physical or moral.
  • Specifically To rule or regulate by right of authority; control according to law or prescription; exercise magisterial, official, or customary power over: as, to govern a state, a church, a bank, a household, etc.
  • In grammar, to cause or require to be in a particular form: as, a transitive verb or a preposition governs a noun or pronoun in the objective case; the possessive case is governed by the thing possessed; the subject governs the verb in number and person.
  • To exercise or have control; practise direction or guidance; especially, to exercise legal or customary authority.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To exercise authority; to administer the laws; to have the control.
  • transitive verb To direct and control, as the actions or conduct of men, either by established laws or by arbitrary will; to regulate by authority.
  • transitive verb To regulate; to influence; to direct; to restrain; to manage
  • transitive verb (Gram.) To require to be in a particular case; ; or to require (a particular case).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To make and administer the public policy and affairs of; to exercise sovereign authority in.
  • verb transitive To control the actions or behavior of; to keep under control; to restrain.
  • verb transitive To exercise a deciding or determining influence on.
  • verb transitive To control the speed, flow etc. of; to regulate.
  • verb intransitive To exercise political authority; to run a government.
  • verb intransitive To have or exercise a determining influence.
  • verb transitive To require that a certain preposition, grammatical case, etc. be used with a word; sometimes used synonymously with collocate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb bring into conformity with rules or principles or usage; impose regulations
  • verb direct or strongly influence the behavior of
  • verb exercise authority over; as of nations
  • verb require to be in a certain grammatical case, voice, or mood

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English governen, from Old French governer, from Latin gubernāre, from Greek kubernān.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman and Old French governer, Latin gubernō, from Ancient Greek κυβερνάω (kubernaō, "I steer, drive, govern")

Examples

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