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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.:
      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, [Walter Scott], chapter X, in Peveril of the Peak. [...] In Four Volumes, volume I, Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 2392685, page 227:
      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 the Reverend Master Solsgrace, with his daughter Alice and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, now formally installed in all the duties of a gouvernante.

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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.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 quotations of use of this term, see Citations:governante.