Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others.
  • adjective Designed or intended for one's exclusive use.
  • adjective Of or confined to the individual; personal.
  • adjective Undertaken on an individual basis.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or receiving special hospital services and privileges.
  • adjective Not available for public use, control, or participation.
  • adjective Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources.
  • adjective Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations.
  • adjective Enrolled in or attending a private school.
  • adjective Capitalized in shares of stock that are held by a relatively small number of owners and are not traded on the open market.
  • adjective Not holding an official or public position.
  • adjective Not for public knowledge or disclosure; secret.
  • adjective Not appropriate for use or display in public; intimate.
  • adjective Placing a high value on personal privacy.
  • noun A noncommissioned rank in the US Army or Marine Corps that is below private first class.
  • noun One who holds this rank or a similar rank in a military organization.
  • noun Private parts. Often used with the.
  • idiom (go private) To take a publicly owned company into private ownership, as by a leveraged buyout.
  • idiom (in private) Not in public; secretly or confidentially.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Peculiar to, belonging to, or concerning an individual only; respecting particular individuals; personal.
  • Kept or removed from public view; not known; not open; not accessible to people in general; secret.
  • Not holding public office or employment; not having a public or official character: as, a private citizen; private life; private schools.
  • Noting a common soldier, or one of the ordinary rank and file.
  • Being in privacy; retired from company; secluded.
  • Privy; informed of what is not generally known.
  • Keeping privacy or confidence; secretive; reticent.
  • Intimate; confidential.
  • Particular; individual; special: opposed to general.
  • noun A person not in public life or office.
  • noun A common soldier; one of the rank and file of an army.
  • noun A secret message; private intimation.
  • noun Personal interest or use; particular business.
  • noun Privacy; retirement.
  • noun plural The private parts of the body.
  • noun In some colleges, a private admonition.
  • To deprive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Belonging to, or concerning, an individual person, company, or interest; peculiar to one's self; unconnected with others; personal; one's own; not public; not general; separate
  • adjective Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary
  • adjective Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or employment
  • adjective Not publicly known; not open; secret
  • adjective obsolete Having secret or private knowledge; privy.
  • adjective a statute exclusively for the settlement of private and personal interests, of which courts do not take judicial notice; -- opposed to a general law, which operates on the whole community. In the United States Congress, similar private acts are referred to as private law and a general law as a public law.
  • adjective See Nuisance.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English privat, from Latin prīvātus, not in public life, past participle of prīvāre, to release, deprive, from prīvus, single, alone; see per in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin prīvātus ("bereaved; set apart from"), perfect passive participle of prīvō ("I bereave, deprive"), from prīvus ("single, peculiar").

Examples

  • VIEW FAVORITES yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = '"Tax Farming" by Private Collectors Starts This Week at IRS'; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = 'IRS to spend $75 million with 3 private collection agencies (GOP connected?) and give them \'personal, private\' information on 12,500 US taxpayers who owe less than $25,000.

    OpEdNews - Quicklink: "Tax Farming" by Private Collectors Starts This Week at IRS

  • Re Shaun's comment on 4/1/05 see above that includes this sentence: "As I said before, my issue isn't with the sexual orientation, it's with people who lack the discretion to keep their private lives *private*"; and this one: "Were I to go into work Monday morning and regale my coworkers with tales of my sexual exploits, I'd likely lose my job."

    The Boundaries of Diversity

  • Instead of _taking_ "private property," Congress, by abolishing slavery, would say "_private property_ shall not _be_ taken; and those who have been robbed of it already, shall be kept out of it no longer; and since every man's right to his own body is _paramount_, he shall be protected in it."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • Instead of _taking_ "private property," Congress, by abolishing slavery, would say "_private property_ shall not be taken; and those who have been robbed of it already, shall be kept out of it no longer; and every man's right to his own body shall be protected."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • Instead of _taking_ "private property," Congress, by abolishing slavery, would say "_private property_ shall not _be_ taken; and those who have been robbed of it already, shall be kept out of it no longer; and since every man's right to his own body is _paramount_, he shall be protected in it."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4

  • But, by one who speaks without notes is generally understood one who has only memorised his leading ideas, and it is always a judicious practice for a beginner to rehearse his leading topics and their amplifications in private, _that he may test his memory_, and then _become familiar_ with a procedure _in private_ in order to be sure to be _perfect in it before the public_.

    Assimilative Memory or, How to Attend and Never Forget

  • But, after all, one must earn enough to pay for the garret; and I confess that to grow old as a private tutor—or a ‘private’ anything—is almost as chilling to the imagination as a second secretaryship at Bucharest.

    XX. Book II

  • But he may rest assured that I will not betray any of his private communications to me; I will not follow his example by basely exposing a _private letter; _ even should he again hire James

    Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. — Volume 2

  • II. i.223 (370,7) [My lips are no common, though several they be] _Several_, is an inclosed field of a private proprietor, so Maria says, _her lips_ are _private property_.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • If you are content to allow the public access to some parts of your private life or are content to talk about some parts of it (when you're happy about something, or when it's going to benefit you), you cannot then deny the public access to your private life of refuse to talk about it * on the grounds that it's private*!

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

Comments

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  • Private (prɪˈveɪt; transitive verb) means to deprive or dispossess of something; to cut off (from something).

    August 12, 2011