Definitions

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

  • n. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. See Synonyms at right.
  • n. Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.
  • n. The principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity: a society based on privilege.
  • n. Law The right to privileged communication in a confidential relationship, as between client and attorney, patient and physician, or communicant and priest.
  • n. An option to buy or sell a stock, including put, call, spread, and straddle.
  • transitive v. To grant a privilege to.
  • transitive v. To free or exempt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all; special enjoyment of a good, or exemption from an evil or burden; a prerogative; advantage; franchise; preferential treatment.
  • n. The status or existence of such benefit or advantage.
  • n. A common law doctrine that protects certain communications from being used as evidence in court.
  • v. To grant some particular right or exemption to; to invest with a peculiar right or immunity; to authorize; as, to privilege representatives from arrest.
  • v. To bring or put into a condition of privilege or exemption from evil or danger; to exempt; to deliver.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all; special enjoyment of a good, or exemption from an evil or burden; a prerogative; advantage; franchise.
  • n. See Call, Put, Spread, etc.
  • transitive v. To grant some particular right or exemption to; to invest with a peculiar right or immunity; to authorize.
  • transitive v. To bring or put into a condition of privilege or exemption from evil or danger; to exempt; to deliver.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ordinance in favor of an individual.
  • n. A right, immunity, benefit, or advantage enjoyed by a person or body of persons beyond the common advantages of other individuals; the enjoyment of some desirable right, or an exemption from some evil or burden; a private or personal favor enjoyed; a peculiar advantage.
  • n. Specifically — In the Roman Catholic Church, an exemption or license granted by the Pope. It differs from a dispensation and from a grace in that it never refers to a single act, but presupposes and legalizes many acts done in pursuance of it, and confers on its possessor immunity in regard to every act so privileged.
  • n. Special immunity or advantage granted to persons in authority or in office, as the freedom of speech, freedom from arrest, etc., enjoyed by members of Parliament or of Congress. Compare breach of privilege, below.
  • n. An advantage yielded; superiority.
  • n. In law: A special and exclusive right conferred by law on particular persons or classes of persons, and ordinarily in derogation of the common right.
  • n. The law, rule, or grant conferring such a right.
  • n. In the civil law, a lien or priority of right of payment, such as the artisans' privilege, corresponding to the common-law lien of a bailee or the lien under mechanics' lien-laws, carriers' privilege, inn-keepers' privilege, etc.
  • n. In some of the United States, the right of a licensee in a vocation which is forbidden except to licensees.
  • n. In modern times (since all have become generally equal before the law), one of the more sacred and vital rights common to all citizens: as, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; the privileges of a citizen of the United States.
  • n. A speculative contract covering a “put” or a “call,” or both a put and a call (that is, a “straddle”). See call, n., 15, put, n., 6, and straddle, n.
  • To grant some privilege to; bestow some particular right or exemption on: invest with a peculiar right or immunity; exempt from censure or danger: as, to privilege diplomatic representatives from arrest; the privileged classes.
  • To exempt in any way; free: with from.
  • To authorize; license.
  • n. In the High Peak, Derbyshire, the land on which a house stands, including the garden, even if the garden is on the other side of the road.
  • n. A writ issued to apprehend a person in a privileged place.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right)
  • v. bestow a privilege upon
  • n. (law) the right to refuse to divulge information obtained in a confidential relationship
  • n. a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prīvilēgium, a law affecting one person : prīvus, single, alone; see per1 in Indo-European roots + lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French privilege, from Latin privilegium ("an ordinance or law against or in favor of an individual"), from privus ("private") + lēx, legis ("law"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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