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government definition

Overview

This page has 5 definitions of government in English. Government is a noun. Examples of how to use government in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English governement, from Old French governement (modern French gouvernement), from governer (see govern) + -ment.

Morphologically govern +‎ -ment

Pronunciation

Noun

government (countable and uncountable, plural governments)

  1. The body with the power to make and/or enforce laws to control a country, land area, people or organization.
    British government has historically centred exclusively on London.
    • 1863 November 19, Abraham Lincoln, Dedicatory Remarks (Gettysburg Address)‎[1], near Soldiers' National Cemetery, LCCN n94107481, Bancroft copy, page 2:
      [] and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    • 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8843, page 68:
      Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.
  2. (grammar, linguistics) The relationship between a word and its dependents.
  3. The state and its administration viewed as the ruling political power.
    If the citizens must follow the law, then the government must follow the constitution.
    • 2013 June 22, “Snakes and ladders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 76:
      Risk is everywhere. From tabloid headlines insisting that coffee causes cancer (yesterday, of course, it cured it) to stern government warnings about alcohol and driving, the world is teeming with goblins.
  4. (uncountable) The management or control of a system.
  5. The tenure of a chief of state.

Usage notes

In the United States, "government" is considered to be divided into three branches; the legislature (the House of Representatives and the Senate) which makes law, the Administration (under the President) which runs sections of government within the law, and the Courts, which adjudicate on matters of the law. This is a much wider meaning of "government" than exists in other countries where the term "government" means the ruling political force of the prime minister and his/her cabinet ministers (what Americans would call the Administration). In Britain, the administrative organs of the nation are collectively referred to as "the state". In Canada government is used in both senses and neither state nor administration are used. Applied to many countries in continental Europe (when using English), the British usage is common.

In Britain, the word is often capitalised when referring to the UK government.

Hyponyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also