verb (used with object)
to rule over by right of authority: to govern a nation.
to exercise a directing or restraining influence over; guide: the motives governing a decision.
to hold in check; control: to govern one's temper.
to serve as or constitute a law for: the principles governing a case.
Grammar. to be regularly accompanied by or require the use of (a particular form). In They helped us, the verb helped governs the objective case of the pronoun we.
to regulate the speed of (an engine) with a governor.
verb (used without object)
to exercise the function of government.
to have predominating influence.

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French gouverner < Latin gubernāre to steer (a ship) < Greek kybernân to steer

governable, adjective
governability, governableness, noun
overgovern, verb (used with object)
regovern, verb (used with object)
supergovern, verb (used with object)
ungoverned, adjective
ungoverning, adjective
well-governed, adjective

1. reign. See rule. 2. control, sway, influence, conduct, supervise, superintend.

1. obey. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To govern
World English Dictionary
govern (ˈɡʌvən)
1.  (also intr) to direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of (a political unit, organization, nation, etc); rule
2.  to exercise restraint over; regulate or direct: to govern one's temper
3.  to be a predominant influence on (something); decide or determine (something): his injury governed his decision to avoid sports
4.  to control the speed of (an engine, machine, etc) using a governor
5.  to control the rate of flow of (a fluid) by using an automatic valve
6.  (of a word) to determine the inflection of (another word): Latin nouns govern adjectives that modify them
[C13: from Old French gouverner, from Latin gubernāre to steer, from Greek kubernan]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. governer "govern," from L. gubernare "to direct, rule, guide," originally "to steer," from Gk. kybernan "to steer or pilot a ship, direct" (the root of cybernetics). The -k- to -g- sound shift is perhaps via the medium of Etruscan.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Senate career also may hold clues about how he would govern.
WE govern our democracy either by leadership or by crisis.
Ocean currents govern the world's weather and churn a kaleidoscope of life.
Scientific or natural laws govern the physical, but they are not physical.
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