From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Government \Gov"ern*ment\, n. [F. gouvernement. See Govern.]
   1. The act of governing; the exercise of authority; the
      administration of laws; control; direction; regulation;
      as, civil, church, or family government.
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   2. The mode of governing; the system of polity in a state;
      the established form of law.
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            That free government which we have so dearly
            purchased, free commonwealth.         --Milton.
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   3. The right or power of governing; authority.
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            I here resign my government to thee.  --Shak.
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   4. The person or persons authorized to administer the laws;
      the ruling power; the administration.
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            When we, in England, speak of the government, we
            generally understand the ministers of the crown for
            the time being.                       --Mozley & W.
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   5. The body politic governed by one authority; a state; as,
      the governments of Europe.
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   6. Management of the limbs or body. --Shak.
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   7. (Gram.) The influence of a word in regard to construction,
      requiring that another word should be in a particular
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