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date: 04 December 2020


The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

Daniel Hahn

Literally and originally ‘a woman who governs’, governess was being used by the 16th cent. to mean ‘a woman who has the charge of a young person’, ‘a female tutor’. During the 18th cent. it was sometimes applied to the teacher or proprietor of a school, apparently because (as one writer put it) ‘the word ... ...

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