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

Being at home means that people retain a certain level of privacy and are not rushed by the schedule of a busy veterinary office. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "Pet Euthanasia at Home: 6 Ways to Make Putting Down Your Pet Easier on Them—and You," 25 Oct. 2018 The men allege violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, negligence, and invasion of privacy, among other claims. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Google+ users, upset over data leak, sue Google," 9 Oct. 2018 For most users, however, the degree of privacy should be enough. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "ProtonVPN review: Underground data centers, one-click multi-hop, and more make for a great choice," 4 Sep. 2018 But while many people associate natural light with windows and, therefore, lack of privacy, Chip emphasizes there are many workarounds. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "13 Ways To Make Even The Tiniest Bathroom Feel Like A Spa," 21 Aug. 2018 There's none of that here (these seats are lie-flat, but not full beds), but there is a full-height sliding door—a game-changer in terms of privacy, and previously unheard of in business class. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta One Suites Coming to More Flights This Fall," 2 Aug. 2018 As tech behemoths like Facebook and Google try to allay concerns over privacy, Shiru’s information-gathering on students has not drawn much scrutiny. Graham Ambrose,, "Free coffee — with a catch — is coming to Massachusetts," 14 July 2018 While these dancers chose to dance publicly, and Maedeh was dancing within the privacy of her bedroom without one, their intent appeared to be the same: to express their happiness through performance, while moving to Western music. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "How Social Media in Iran Is Used as a Tool for Protest," 11 July 2018 Amazon and Microsoft Amazon employees wrote a letter protesting the company’s sale of facial-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, noting the software can make errors and infringe on privacy and due process rights. Joseph Menn, The Christian Science Monitor, "Silicon Valley employees increasingly push companies on ethics," 13 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

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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