private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class a private park
b : belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest a private house
c(1) : carried on by the individual independently of the usual institutions a doctor in private practice also : being educated by independent study or a tutor or in a private school private students
(2) : restricted to the individual or arising independently of others private opinion
d : not general in effect a private statute
e : of, relating to, or receiving hospital service in which the patient has more privileges than a semiprivate or ward patient
2a(1) : not related to one's official position : personal private correspondence
(2) : not holding public office or employment a private citizen
b : being a private
3a : not known or intended to be known publicly : secret
b : preferring to keep personal affairs to oneself : valuing privacy highly
c : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat
d : unsuitable for public use or display
4 : not having shares that can be freely traded on the open market a private company

private

noun

Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an enlisted person of the lowest rank in the marine corps or of one of the two lowest ranks in the army
b : a person of low rank in any of various organizations (such as a police or fire department)
2 privates plural : private parts
3 archaic : one not in public office
4 obsolete : privacy
in private
: not openly or in public

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Other Words from private

Adjective

privately adverb
privateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for private

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of private in a Sentence

Adjective It was the first time many had seen works from the artist's private collection. At work he was always very serious, but in his private life, he was actually very funny and relaxed. Please keep all my personal information private. He's a very private person.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Also, a good many of us have made a tentative peace with what these collapsologues seem to see as our irredeemably damaged existence in the modern megalopolis, fractured irreparably between our public and private selves. Harrison Stetler, The New York Review of Books, "‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart," 21 Jan. 2020 The president regularly brings up the subject in public and private meetings, complaining that he is being treated unfairly. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, "Trump to Speak at Davos as His Impeachment Trial Unfolds at Home," 20 Jan. 2020 Orleans Parish residents who graduated from a public or private parish high school are eligible. USA TODAY, "Condom conflict, ghost net, smart trash bins: News from around our 50 states," 18 Jan. 2020 The grant was one of 32 NEH Challenge grants awarded to increase public and private investment in museums, libraries and cultural centers across the country. Robin Goist, cleveland, "National Endowment for the Arts awards grant to Kent State for May 4, 1970 augmented reality project," 17 Jan. 2020 This was a unique model that different from other states, where there were separate tournaments for public and private schools or a multiplier for private-school enrollments. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Retiring IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox wasn't afraid of change," 16 Jan. 2020 Over the last three years, few if any of these blockchain projects—public or private—have launched a legitimately useful product or interface for businesses or consumers. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "The SEC is warning against a new twist on an old crypto scheme," 16 Jan. 2020 Error 0: Public and private board membership roles are paid positions, often including stock. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Various steps lead to corporate board of directors roles," 13 Jan. 2020 The American Public Transportation Association is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private sector member organizations. Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al, "Jefferson County CFO accepts job in Washington D.C.," 6 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Late in life, going dotty (or dottier than usual), my father contemplated returning to the battle zone of the Ardennes and seeking out German privates who had fought on the other side. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of Dying," 16 Dec. 2019 The result was a massive funding shortfall that had to be partially compensated by tapping debt markets via the April private placement. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Aston Martin Went Public a Year Ago—and Then the Wheels Fell Off," 26 Sep. 2019 County police would not release the results of its investigation or the name of the officer, citing the need to keep the officer’s personnel record private. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, "White Baltimore County officer disciplined after black city school principal alleges police verbally abused him," 17 Sep. 2019 During the hearing Thursday, the student testified that in a separate incident, another student had removed his pants, exposing him, and took a photograph of his privates. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Hamtramck student alleges he was sexually assaulted by school employee, a Dem activist," 31 Oct. 2019 Ladies sat in such a way as not to display their privates to fellow diners. Dan Danbom, The Denver Post, "Don’t blow your nose in a napkin and use the right fork. Whatever happened to manners?," 17 Oct. 2019 The rebel scion of a prominent Charleston, S.C., family, Mr. Rittenberg, who joined and quit the American Communist Party, arrived in China as an Army private just as World War II ended. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Sidney Rittenberg, Idealistic American Aide to Mao Who Evolved to Counsel Capitalists, Dies at 98," 24 Aug. 2019 After a year in New York, Fonda made his Broadway debut, playing an Army private in Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. Duane Byrge, Billboard, "Peter Fonda, 'Easy Rider' Architect And Counter-Cultural Icon, Dies At 79," 16 Aug. 2019 Some of his protagonists are officers or privates in the army; others contribute their scientific or managerial skills to wartime industry, or work at hospitals or orphanages; many are forced to flee east, further from the front lines. Sophie Pinkham, The New Republic, "Vasily Grossman’s Lost Epic," 27 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'private.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of private

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for private

Adjective

Middle English privat, from Anglo-French, from Latin privatus, from past participle of privare to deprive, release, from privus private, individual; probably akin to Latin pro for, in front of — more at for

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Time Traveler for private

Time Traveler

The first known use of private was in the 14th century

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Statistics for private

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Private.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/in%20private. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for private

private

adjective
How to pronounce private (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: for the use of a single person or group : belonging to one person or group : not public
: not relating to a person's official position or job
: not known by the public or by other people

private

noun

English Language Learners Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of the lowest rank in the U.S. or British Army or the U.S. Marines

private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Kids Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having to do with or for the use of a single person or group : not public private property
2 : not holding any public office a private citizen
3 : secret entry 1 sense 1 private meetings

Other Words from private

privately adverb

private

noun

Kids Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

: an enlisted person of the lowest rank in the marine corps or of either of the two lowest ranks in the army

private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Medical Definition of private

1 : of, relating to, or receiving hospital service in which the patient has more privileges than a semiprivate or ward patient
2 : of, relating to, or being private practice a private office a private practitioner

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private

adjective
pri·​vate

Legal Definition of private

1a : intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons : not available to the public a private park
b : not related to, controlled by, or deriving from the state a private school
2a : owned by or concerning an individual person or entity private land
b : not having shares that can be freely traded on the open market a private company
3 : affecting the interests of a particular person, class or group of persons, or locality private legislation private rights
4a : not invested with or engaged in public office or employment a private citizen
b : not related to or dependent on an official position private correspondence
5 : not known publicly or carried on in public especially : intended only for the persons involved
6 : made under private signature a private instrument

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Comments on private

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