govern <vs> reign

xiaoyudang

Member
Chinese
Hello freinds, my question comes from The Rise and Early Constitutions of Universities, with a Survey of Mediaeval Education written by Simon Somerville Laurie.

An universitas was autonomous; but the chancellor had always ,a certain position which entitles us to say that he at least reigned, if he did not govern, and in England he governed as well as reigned.

What's the difference between govern and reign?

Thank you so much!
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    In the context you give:

    govern: to direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of (a political unit, organization, nation, etc); rule

    reign: to be accorded the rank and title of a sovereign without having ruling authority, as in a constitutional monarchy.

    Definitions taken from the Collins Concise English Dictionary.

    An universitas was autonomous; but the chancellor had always ,a certain position which entitles us to say that he at least reigned, if he did not govern, and in England he governed as well as reigned.
    =
    An universitas was autonomous; but the chancellor had always, a certain position which entitles us to say that he at least was the titular head , if he did not direct and control the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of an universitas, and in England he directed and controlled the actions, affairs, policies, functions, etc, of an universitas as well as being the titular head.

    (I must say the sentence is rather strange: there seems to be something wrong with the comma in "...always ,a certain..." - perhaps it should not be there?
    We would also now write "A univeristas")
     
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    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I agree with PaulQ but I'd just like to emphasize that it's in this context. When talking about monarchs (for example), then reign is used, whether or not they have any governmental role.
     

    xiaoyudang

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you for your thorough and accurate answer. If you reign a kingdom, you don't have so much power as you govern a kingdom.

    I looked again, and there is no comma in the original copy indeed. It's a stain on the pdf book. I copied and pasted it up without noticing it.:)

    ~~~~~~~~

    It's a Latin name of university.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Thank you for your complement!
     
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