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French gouvernante. See govern.


governante (plural governantes)

  1. (archaic) A governess.
    • 1748, Tobias Smollett, chapter 50, in The Adventures of Roderick Random.:
      After dinner, I sauntered in company with Dr. Wagtail, to that part of the town in which my inamorata lived; and, as he was a mere register, inquired of him into the name, character, and fortune of everybody who possessed a good house in the streets through which we passed. When it came to his turn to mention Sir John Sparkle, he represented him as a man of an immense estate and narrow disposition, who mewed up his only child, a fine young lady, from the conversation of mankind, under the strict watch and inspection of an old governante, who was either so honest, envious, or insatiable, that nobody had been as yet able to make her a friend, or get access to her charge, though numbers attempted it every day; not so much on account of her expectations from her father, who, being a widower, might marry again and have sons, as for a fortune of twelve thousand pounds left her by an uncle, of which she could not be deprived.
    • 1822, Sir Walter Scott, chapter 10, in Peveril of the Peak:
      Shortly after the failure of the singular negotiation for attaining peace by combat, which Peveril had attempted to open with Major Bridgenorth, that gentleman left his seat of Moultrassie Hall in the care of his old housekeeper, and departed, no one knew whither, having in company with him his daughter Alice and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, now formally installed in all the duties of a governante; to these was added the Reverend Master Solsgrace.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for governante in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)



governante (masculine and feminine plural governanti)

  1. governing, ruling


governante f (plural governanti)

  1. governess
  2. housekeeper



governante m f (plural governantes)

  1. ruler, leader of a government


For usage examples of this term, see Citations:governante.