Words related to government

govern (v.)

late 13c., "to rule with authority," from Old French governer "steer, be at the helm of; govern, rule, command, direct" (11c., Modern French gouverner), from Latin gubernare "to direct, rule, guide, govern" (source also of Spanish gobernar, Italian governare), originally "to steer, to pilot," a nautical borrowing from Greek kybernan "to steer or pilot a ship, direct as a pilot," figuratively "to guide, govern" (the root of cybernetics). The -k- to -g- sound shift is perhaps via the medium of Etruscan. Intransitive sense from 1590s. Related: Governed; governing.

governance (n.)

late 14c., "act or manner of governing," from Old French governance "government, rule, administration; (rule of) conduct" (Modern French gouvernance), from governer "to govern, rule, command" (see govern). Fowler writes that the word "has now the dignity of incipient archaism," but it might continue useful in its original sense as government comes to mean primarily "the governing power in a state."

G-man (n.)

"FBI agent," 1930, shortening of government man; used earlier in an Irish context (1917), but the abbreviation is perhaps the same one.

governmental (adj.)

1744, from government + -al (1). Related: Governmentally. A Middle English word in the same sense was gubernatif (late 14c.).

misgovernment (n.)

late 14c., "want of self-restraint, misbehavior" (a sense now obsolete), from mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + government. Meaning "bad government, management, or administration of public or private affairs" is from 1590s.

self-government (n.)

1734, of persons, "self-control;" 1798, of states, nations, provinces, cities, etc., "administration of its own affairs without outside direction or interference," from self- + government. Related: Self-governing (1680s); self-governed (1709 as an adjective, of persons, "marked by self-control").