Definition of governess in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡʌv(ə)nəs/


(Especially in former times) a woman employed to teach children in a private household.
Example sentences
  • Only a poor minister, he knew his daughters would likely have to work as teachers or governesses, and their education would be indispensable.
  • Sometimes a governess would be employed to supervise the correspondence lessons and teach additional lessons.
  • Born in London, taught by governesses, she combined her early love of drawing with a keen interest in natural history, copying flowers and drawing small animals kept as pets or found on summer holidays in Scotland and the Lakes.
French mademoiselle
archaic tutoress, tutress, tutrice, tutrix


Middle English (originally governeress, denoting a female ruler): from Old French governeresse, feminine of governeour 'governor', from Latin gubernator, from gubernare (see govern).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gov¦ern|ess

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