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A flyball governor (mechanical), connected to a linkage to regulate flow.

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English governour, from Old French gouvreneur, from Latin gubernator, from Ancient Greek κυβερνήτης (kubernḗtēs, steersman, pilot, guide), from κυβερνάω (kubernáō, to steer, to drive, to guide, to act as a pilot), of disputed origin. By surface analysis, govern +‎ -or. Doublet of gubernator. Doublet of cybernetics and Kubernetes.



governor (plural governors, feminine governess)

  1. (politics) The chief executive officer of a first-level division of a country.
    • 1999, Karen O'Connor, The essentials of American government: continuity and change, p 17
      Younger voters are more libertarian in political philosophy than older voters and are credited with the success of libertarian governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota
  2. A device which regulates or controls some action of a machine through automatic feedback.
    • 1961 October, “The first 1,250 h.p. Birmingham/Sulzer Type 2 diesels enter service”, in Trains Illustrated, page 607:
      Generator excitation is obtained by a combination of the separately-excited and self-excited fields, and the output is controlled by a resistance in the separate field circuit adjusted by the load regulator under the control of the engine governor.
  3. A member of a decision-making for an organization or entity (including some public agencies) similar to or equivalent to a board of directors (used especially for banks); a member of the board of governors.
    • Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, (November 6, 2009)
      The seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
  4. (informal) Father.
    • 1869, Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl:
      "Say 'father.' We never called him papa; and if one of my brothers had addressed him as 'governor,' as boys do now, I really think he'd have him cut off with a shilling."
  5. (informal) Boss; employer; gaffer.
  6. (UK, informal, dated) Term of address to a man; guv'nor.
  7. (grammar) A constituent of a phrase that governs another.
  8. (dated) One who has the care or guardianship of a young man; a tutor; a guardian.
  9. (nautical) A pilot; a steersman.


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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of governour