pri·​va·​cy | \ ˈprī-və-sē, 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

With the additional cameras however, both body cams and drones have become the topic of conversation among local advocacy groups who caution that not enough is being done to safeguard individuals’ rights to privacy. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "New York City cops will fly a drone over the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square," 30 Dec. 2018 All of this is made possible by an abdication of duty to privacy, enabled in large by an intentionally murky definition of what qualifies as user data. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Facebook Was Never Really For You," 19 Dec. 2018 Until 2014 the state's constitution spelled out a fundamental right to privacy, extending to a person’s option to terminate a pregnancy. Beca Grimm, Marie Claire, "Getting an Abortion Can Be Lonely. These People Will Hold Your Hand.," 11 Sep. 2018 Offset staged an apparent attempt at reconciliation during Cardi B’s performance at the Rolling Loud concert in Los Angeles on Saturday night, and accidentally illustrated once and for all the importance of privacy in all matters of the heart. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Offset Begs Cardi B to Take Him Back— By Crashing Her Concert," 16 Dec. 2018 After this exchange, the actor explains that his father passed away three years ago from a stroke and that everyone was granted a moment of privacy with him to say goodbye. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Long Island Medium' Theresa Caputo Gives John Schneider Intense Reading for the Season Finale," 23 Nov. 2018 The 30-villa property is tucked away on its own private island, promising a level of privacy and exclusivity that lures moguls and celebrities alike. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...Six Senses Zil Pasyon," 13 Nov. 2018 And in cases pitting privacy rights against law enforcement, the outgoing and potentially incoming justice also have been in agreement. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Will Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deliver the change conservatives crave?," 10 July 2018 Roe is far from the only case that involves the relationship between the 14th amendment and privacy rights. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick Puts Spotlight on Roe v. Wade on 150th Anniversary of the Amendment That Made the Case Possible," 9 July 2018

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

12 Jan 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 \

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

Comments on privacy

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


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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