Definition of Governess-General in US English:



  • 1A woman appointed to govern a province, state, etc., in the name of a sovereign ruler; a female viceroy or regent. historical in later use (now superseded by Governor-General).

  • 2The wife of a Governor-General. rare.


Late 16th century; earliest use found in Arthur Golding (d. 1606), translator. From governess + general, in sense 1 after Middle French gouvernante generale; compare Dutch † gouvernante generael.