Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun priv·i·lege \ˈpriv-lij, ˈpri-və-\

Simple Definition of privilege

  • : a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others

  • : a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud

  • : the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society

Full Definition of privilege

  1. :  a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor :  prerogative; especially :  such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office

Examples of privilege

  1. It is evolving into an elite institution, open chiefly to the well-educated few. In short, marriage is becoming yet another form of privilege. —Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Commonweal, 2 Dec. 2005

  2. The oldest of the students, she had become a confidante of Fern's and she alone was allowed to call her by her first name. It was not a privilege the others coveted. —Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003

  3. But the two were grown in the same petri dish of power, prep school and privilege. —Howard Fineman, Newsweek, 16 Oct. 2000

  4. Good health care should be a right and not a privilege.

  5. We had the privilege of being invited to the party.

  6. I had the privilege of knowing your grandfather.

  7. He lived a life of wealth and privilege.

Origin of privilege

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin privilegium law for or against a private person, from privus private + leg-, lex law

First Known Use: 12th century



verb priv·i·lege \ˈpriv-lij, ˈpri-və-\

Simple Definition of privilege

  • : to give an advantage that others do not have to (someone or something)

Full Definition of privilege


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to grant a privilege to(see 1privilege)

  3. 2 :  to accord a higher value or superior position to <privilege one mode of discourse over another>

Examples of privilege

  1. The new tax laws unfairly privilege the rich.

  2. <only professionals who meet the education and experience requirements set by law are privileged to use the title interior designer in Oklahoma>

Origin of privilege

(see 1privilege)

First Known Use: 14th century

PRIVILEGE Defined for Kids


noun priv·i·lege \ˈpri-və-lij\

Definition of privilege

  1. 1 :  a right or liberty granted as a favor or benefit especially to some and not others

  2. 2 :  an opportunity that is special and pleasant <I had the privilege of meeting the president.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up privilege? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.