1. The act or process of governing, especially the control and administration of public policy in a political unit.
2. The office, function, or authority of a governing individual or body.
3. Exercise of authority in a political unit; rule.
4. The agency or apparatus through which a governing individual or body functions and exercises authority.
5. A governing body or organization, as:
a. The ruling political party or coalition of political parties in a parliamentary system.
b. The cabinet in a parliamentary system.
c. The persons who make up a governing body.
6. A system or policy by which a political unit is governed.
7. Administration or management of an organization, business, or institution.
8. Political science.
9. Grammar The influence of a word over the morphological inflection of another word in a phrase or sentence.
gov′ern·mental (-mĕntl) adj.
Usage Note: In American usage government always takes a singular verb. In British usage government, in the sense of a governing group of officials, takes a plural verb: The government are determined to follow this course. See Usage Note at collective noun.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.