pri·​va·​cy | \ ˈprī-və-sē How to pronounce privacy (audio) , especially British ˈpri-\
plural privacies

Definition of privacy

1a : the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion
b : freedom from unauthorized intrusion one's right to privacy
2 archaic : a place of seclusion
3a : secrecy
b : a private matter : secret

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Examples of privacy in a Sentence

She went upstairs for some privacy. Celebrities have a right to privacy.

Recent Examples on the Web

Prince William and Kate Middleton have taken a bold new step to ensure their privacy, planting a 950-feet-long hedge of 600 laurel trees on their property at Kensington Palace in a move that will block the view of photographers and fans alike. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince William and Kate Middleton Plant a 950-Foot Hedge at Kensington Palace to Protect Their Privacy," 7 Apr. 2019 And throughout, presenters referenced Apple’s zealous protection of our privacy. ... Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Apple Pitches Values Along With Credit Card, News and TV Plus—but Will People Buy It?," 26 Mar. 2019 How Facebook shamelessly sold out its users’ data, ignored their privacy, and profited. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Delete Your Account," 10 Feb. 2019 Whether or not your privacy can be preserved in the future while shopping for paper towels is up for debate. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Walmart secured a patent to eavesdrop on shoppers and employees," 21 Dec. 2018 But inmates are given some privacy to write to their lawyers and receive mail from them because of the attorney-client privilege. Ian Duncan,, "Prosecutors seek access to Capital Gazette shooting suspect's jail mail; his lawyer says that violates his rights," 12 July 2018 That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Facebook Is Still Abusing Your Privacy," 11 July 2018 There are privacy screens, personal outlets, and reading lights—so why skip the traditional room and veer towards a summer camp style of sleeping (especially as an adult)? Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Who’s Sleeping in All These Hotel Bunk Beds?," 28 Mar. 2019 Apple has largely escaped this backlash and has sought to set itself apart by emphasizing its privacy safeguards. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "Apple highlights privacy in new services in jab at rivals," 26 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'privacy.' 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 privacy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for privacy

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for privacy

The first known use of privacy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for privacy



English Language Learners Definition of privacy

: the state of being alone : the state of being away from other people
: the state of being away from public attention


pri·​va·​cy | \ ˈprī-və-sē How to pronounce privacy (audio) \

Kids Definition of privacy

1 : the state of being out of the sight and hearing of other people I went to my room for some privacy.
2 : freedom from intrusion My parents respect my privacy.



Legal Definition of privacy

: freedom from unauthorized intrusion : state of being let alone and able to keep certain especially personal matters to oneself — see also expectation of privacy, invasion of privacy, privacy interest at interest sense 3b, right of privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade

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More from Merriam-Webster on privacy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for privacy

Spanish Central: Translation of privacy

Nglish: Translation of privacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of privacy for Arabic Speakers

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