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
2a : secrecy
b : a private matter : secret
3 archaic : a place of seclusion

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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 Google and other search engines have fought with the EU over its privacy rules. Fox News, "German court rules convicted murderer has 'right to be forgotten' in online searches," 28 Nov. 2019 Mozilla also found that Parrot's Anafi Drone has overhauled its security and privacy features in positive ways. Wired, "Think Twice Before Giving Gifts With a Microphone or Camera," 27 Nov. 2019 Liz Brown is an associate professor of business law at Bentley University, where her research includes data privacy legislation, the regulation of wearable sensor data, and equity in the workplace. Liz Brown, Quartz at Work, "Google is secretively collecting health data, and American workers should be worried," 26 Nov. 2019 Charity Navigator rates charities on financial health and accountability; the Wise Giving Alliance checks out governance, fund-raising, effectiveness and donor privacy. Anchorage Daily News, "Family Finances: Giving to charity while on a budget," 26 Nov. 2019 There are other proposals that might redefine online privacy norms without wholly reinventing them. Brian Barth, The New Yorker, "Big Tech’s Big Defector," 25 Nov. 2019 The contract promotes user privacy and universal Internet access. David Meyer, Fortune, "The Sordid Tale of Juul," 25 Nov. 2019 The visor can be turned off when drivers are not driving and need privacy. Mary Wisniewski,, "An (almost) self-driving semi truck debuts on the Illinois Tollway today. If all goes well, you could eventually see more autonomous freight vehicles.," 25 Nov. 2019 Among other suggestions, governments need to ensure that everyone has internet access and people's fundamental online privacy and data rights need to be respected and protected, while companies must respect and support human rights. Rory Sullivan, CNN, "Tim Berners-Lee warns of 'digital dystopia' if online threats aren't tackled," 25 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for privacy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for privacy

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Privacy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for privacy


How to pronounce privacy (audio)

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

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 state or do over again or repeatedly

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