Definition of governess noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈɡʌvənəs//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡʌvərnəs//
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(especially in the past) a woman employed to teach the children of a rich family in their home and to live with them She was educated at home by a series of governesses. She was governess to the three daughters of a wealthy manufacturer. compare tutor Word OriginMiddle English (originally governeress, denoting a female ruler): from Old French governeresse, feminine of governeour ‘governor’, from Latin gubernator, from gubernare ‘to steer, rule’, from Greek kubernan ‘to steer’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: governess