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adjective pub·lic \ˈpə-blik\

Simple Definition of public

  • : of, relating to, or affecting all or most of the people of a country, state, etc.

  • : of, relating to, paid for by, or working for a government

  • : supported by money from the government and from private contributors rather than by commercials

Full Definition of public

  1. 1 a :  exposed to general view :  open b :  well-known, prominent c :  perceptible, material

  2. 2 a :  of, relating to, or affecting all the people or the whole area of a nation or state <public law> b :  of or relating to a government c :  of, relating to, or being in the service of the community or nation

  3. 3 a :  of or relating to people in general :  universal b :  general, popular

  4. 4 :  of or relating to business or community interests as opposed to private affairs :  social

  5. 5 :  devoted to the general or national welfare :  humanitarian

  6. 6 a :  accessible to or shared by all members of the community b :  capitalized in shares that can be freely traded on the open market —often used with go

  7. 7 :  supported by public funds and private contributions rather than by income from commercials <public radio> <public television>

pub·lic·ness noun

Examples of public

  1. Public outrage over the scandal eventually forced him to resign.

  2. The ads are intended to increase public awareness of the risks of smoking.

  3. She was elected to a public office.

  4. He was in Congress for many years but he recently retired from public life.

  5. They decided on a nearby restaurant as a convenient public place to meet.

  6. The government has allowed public access to the documents.

  7. The city council is holding a public meeting.

  8. This will be her first public performance in five years.

  9. Her trial will be public.

Origin of public

Middle English publique, from Anglo-French, from Latin publicus; akin to Latin populus people

First Known Use: 14th century



noun pub·lic

Simple Definition of public

  • the public : the people of a country, state, etc.

  • : a group of people who have a shared interest, quality, etc.

Full Definition of public

  1. 1 :  a place accessible or visible to the public —usually used in the phrase in public

  2. 2 :  the people as a whole :  populace

  3. 3 :  a group of people having common interests or characteristics; specifically :  the group at which a particular activity or enterprise aims

Examples of public

  1. The beach is open to the public.

  2. The general public is in favor of the law.

  3. Members of the public called for the mayor's resignation.

15th Century

First Known Use of public

15th century

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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