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govern

gov·ern / ˈgəvərn/ • v. [tr.] 1. conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of (a state, organization, or people): he was incapable of governing the country| [as adj.] (governing) the governing coalition. ∎  control, influence, or regulate (a person, action, or course of events): the future of Jamaica will be governed by geography, not history. ∎  (govern oneself) conduct oneself, esp. with regard to controlling one's emotions: the rabbinic system that delineates how a devout Jew governs himself. ∎  regulate the speed of (a motor or engine) by a governor. 2. constitute a law, rule, standard, or principle for: constant principles govern the poetic experience. ∎  serve to decide (a legal case). 3. Gram. (of a word) require that (another word or group of words) be in a particular case: the Latin preposition “cum” governs nouns in the ablative. 4. regulate the speed of (a motor or machine) with a governor. DERIVATIVES: gov·ern·a·bil·i·ty / ˌgəvərnəˈbilitē/ n. gov·ern·a·ble adj. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French governer, from Latin gubernare ‘to steer, rule,’ from Greek kubernan ‘to steer.’

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