Definition of governor in US English:



  • 1The elected executive head of a state of the US.

    • ‘The key battleground states of Arizona and New Mexico, have elected Democratic governors since the 2000 presidential race.’
    • ‘Unlike, say, senators, who debate and vote for a living, governors are executives who create and manage real programs.’
    • ‘Presidents, governors, executives, mayors are looked to as strong and decisive.’
    • ‘Later this year, New Jersey voters will elect a governor and both houses of the state legislature.’
    • ‘The current governor and the current representative to the U.S. House are both Democrats.’
    • ‘As governor, I promise to work with you and do whatever it takes to move our state forward, and to confront the challenges that face us.’
    • ‘I contacted every political person I could find from the mayor to the city councilmen, the governors, the president.’
    • ‘He has been elected senator and governor in Indiana, a solid red state.’
    • ‘Neither the president nor Congress, a state governor or state legislature can declare a law unconstitutional.’
    • ‘The governor responded by appointing a prominent Democrat as his new chief of staff.’
    • ‘State representation, though, is guaranteed by senators and congressmen and governors are there to drive state policies.’
    • ‘I think those that are governors have advantages because they have actually managed budgets and set agendas, and I think this is why so many governors are elected president.’
    • ‘Since Florida's highest law grants him supreme executive power, the governor's action would be lawful.’
    • ‘Congress would initially appoint a governor and other officials for each future state.’
    • ‘A Texas governor until he was elected president in 2000, Bush was born in 1946 in Connecticut.’
    • ‘Of course, Hawaii did elect a Republican governor two years ago.’
    • ‘Yet the rosters of presidential candidates in recent elections have been composed almost entirely of sitting or former senators, governors, and vice presidents.’
    • ‘There are practically no Democratic governors or senators left in the South.’
    • ‘During that time he became active in politics and was elected governor of California in 1966.’
    • ‘Since most of these states elect legislators and governors this year or next, they bear close watching as to future trends in American politics.’
    • ‘We elect people to be governors, to be legislators, to be presidents, we elect them because we believe in certain values that we also see that they believe in.’
    1. 1.1 An official appointed to govern a town or region.
      • ‘Then he sent to gather all his princes, governors and captains, judges treasurers, counselors, sheriffs and the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image.’
      • ‘The mission attracted participation from over 60 business representatives, cabinet ministers, regional governors and government officials.’
      • ‘He also said that he would consider replacing all of the country's appointed governors.’
      • ‘The governor called on the public to increase neighborhood security and help with flood control in their areas.’
      • ‘Towns were administered for the Emperor by his civil governors and military officials.’
      • ‘Iraqi state television said the deputy governor had ordered an indefinite curfew in the province from 1900 in response to the killings.’
      • ‘He has helped to elect six governors, the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Dade County and San Francisco.’
      • ‘Others suggest Putin may want to centralize control over the regions by appointing regional governors.’
      • ‘A meeting was held of the national police chief, the vice president and the governors of most of Nigeria's 36 states.’
      • ‘The US-approved interim government appointed him governor of the town in January.’
      • ‘He then moved into politics, serving with distinction as a provincial governor before being elected as Tehran's mayor two years ago.’
      • ‘The local assembly is assigned to elect a governor and design development policy in the province.’
      • ‘Departmental governors, previously appointed, are now elected popularly, as mayors have been since 1988.’
      • ‘The governor of the town claimed these merchants were spies and had them executed.’
      • ‘He pointed at lessons learned from party chapters of East and Central Java on how difficult it was to elect good governors, regents and mayors.’
      • ‘First the czar appointed the governors of the regions, then in Soviet times the general secretary of the Communist Party named the regional party secretaries.’
      • ‘Sanoh added that the provincial governor should elect a committee to poll the residents and collect information.’
      • ‘LOCAL REPRESENTATION Local councils can now elect governors and mayors without Jakarta's approval.’
      administrator, ruler, chief, leader, principal, head
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    2. 1.2 The representative of the British Crown in a colony or in a Commonwealth state that regards the monarch as head of state.
      • ‘It followed from this that the colonies should be granted internal self-government under a governor appointed by the Crown.’
      • ‘It's from here that a British governor once ruled the whole of southern Nigeria.’
      • ‘The name ‘Australia’ was formally adopted and popularized in 1817 by the British governor of the colony of New South Wales.’
      • ‘With the transfer of the Cape to Britain in 1806, a true colonial government headed by an imperial governor and a parliamentary prime minister was installed.’
      • ‘It is under the nominal rule of a governor general elected by Parliament to represent Queen Elizabeth II of England, the head of state.’
      • ‘In 1808 Sierra Leone became a British crown colony, ruled under a colonial governor.’
      • ‘Largely neglected by their British governors, they traded surpluses of livestock, wheat, and flour with Louisbourg and Boston.’
      • ‘They were exploited by the white ruling class and treated with contempt by British governors, whose fiscal policies were designed only to benefit whites.’
      • ‘They ruled their colonies through governors who obeyed orders without question.’
      • ‘The colonies were not democracies and the governors were not responsible to an electorate.’
      • ‘Trinidad was still a British colony, run by a British governor.’
      • ‘The governors of the individual British provinces were responsible to the vicarius for the taxation in kind which the municipal councils were expected to raise from the individual taxpayer.’
      • ‘Although the real power remained with the governor, this was an unprecedented move in an African colony.’
      • ‘In the process, they deepened estrangement between the colonists and their British governors and taught the people that government should rest on popular consent.’
      • ‘The governor was always a British official dispatched from London who in turn appointed all members of the Executive and Legislative Councils.’
      • ‘The British Crown is represented by a governor.’
  • 2British The head of a public institution.

    ‘the governor of the Bank of England’
    • ‘It has signed up tens of thousands of new workers by getting governors to grant public workers the right to form unions.’
    • ‘A working party made up of heads, governors and union representatives will also be meeting each month to discuss the changes.’
    • ‘The Executive Board and the governors of the national central banks make up the second branch, the Governing Council.’
    • ‘The governor of a borstal institution tries to reform a group of juvenile delinquents through sympathy rather than punishment.’
    • ‘Aged 44, he is a Bank high-flyer, having served as private secretary to the previous governor and member of the team that drew up the Basel accords on international bank regulation.’
    • ‘The achievements of the council in meeting its goals are a shining reflection of its diligence, and bear testimony to the commitment of the institution's governors.’
    • ‘McCreevy next picked a public row with the governor of the bank of Italy for trying to block a Dutch takeover of an Italian bank.’
    • ‘Anger and resentment should be directed at management and governors, not fellow workers.’
    • ‘Instead, he claimed that plans to directly elect the governors of the foundation trusts would make it harder for local authorities to work with the NHS.’
    • ‘The two-day annual meeting was attended by finance ministers, central bank governors and business leaders from 77 member countries of the ADB.’
    • ‘The hospital and services will not be run in any way whatever by any elected governors.’
    • ‘The legislation places a statutory duty on the governor to ensure that the actions of the Bank in implementing monetary policy are consistent with the targets.’
    administrator, ruler, chief, leader, principal, head
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A member of a governing body.
      • ‘The public, parents and governors also gave the thumbs to other designs on show at the school display.’
      • ‘The event was also attended by the principal, chair of governors and other senior staff.’
      • ‘The primary school has recently appointed two governors as press officers to promote the school.’
      • ‘She attended meetings with the school, the governors and a representative from the LEA and in December 2002 managed to get two hours a day extra support for Michael in school.’
      • ‘Let's begin by taking a closer look at the board of governors and what its members do.’
      • ‘The opening ceremony was also attended by school staff, governors, school sponsors, LEA members and local councillors.’
      • ‘People living in the community served by the hospital are able to become members and stand for election for the board of governors of the trust.’
      • ‘There is pressure to democratise the corporation, to elect its governors, to ensure it represents all shades of opinion fairly.’
      • ‘But it is the board of directors that will exercise executive power on the governors ' behalf.’
      • ‘Now, job creation is just one challenge facing not only administration officials, but also governors across the country.’
      • ‘Later, the guest joined other group members and the school's governors for lunch.’
      • ‘The schools organisation committee, which includes councillors, school governors and church officials, is then expected to reach a decision by June 13.’
      • ‘Usually a member of the board of governors is elected president of the organization.’
      • ‘In return, several members of Bank Indonesia's board of governors tendered their resignation.’
      • ‘Mr Baumber and the school's governors will oversee the management of the project.’
      • ‘Under him was a group of appointed governors and administrators.’
      • ‘The charter, to be signed by the schools' head teacher, chairman of governors and a representative from pupils, was presented to schools at a conference which took place in the city on Monday.’
      • ‘Council members and school governors will be required to approve the deal before it can go ahead.’
      • ‘Education chiefs have told the governors that they are valued members of the school and that eventually, once the schools have made sufficient progress, powers will be handed back to them.’
      • ‘The academy will be funded directly from the government and run independently by a board of governors, including representatives from the sponsors, businesses and the council.’
  • 3British informal The person in authority; one's employer.

    supervisor, overseer, superintendent, manager, boss, team leader, line manager, controller
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  • 4A device automatically regulating the supply of fuel, steam, or water to a machine, ensuring uniform motion or limiting speed.

    • ‘There is also a maximum speed governor that can be toggled on and off to keep you from going too fast.’
    • ‘A speed-limiting governor, to limit the maximal speed, may be used.’
    • ‘The Government should not succumb to pressure by vested interests and should make speed governors for vehicles compulsory, at the earliest.’
    • ‘The decision of the department to make speed governors mandatory for heavy transport vehicles and stage carriers would curb to an extent the over-speeding of heavy vehicles.’
    • ‘The first feedback device to be mathematically described was the rotary governor, used by James Watt to keep the rate of steam engines constant with varying loads.’
    • ‘Do you think speed governors are the need of the hour for tackling the mounting number of accidents on the State's roads?’
    • ‘The engines are equipped with governors that limit the top speed to 62 MPH.’


Middle English: from Old French governeour, from Latin gubernator, from gubernare (see govern).