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

But this growing population of novice consumers, most of them living in countries with lax or nonexistent privacy protections, is also a juicy target for data harvesters, according to security researchers. Newley Purnell, WSJ, "App Traps: How Cheap Smartphones Siphon User Data in Developing Countries," 5 July 2018 Three major measures were pulled from the ballot after last-minute negotiations in the Legislature dealing with lead paint cleanup, internet privacy protections and how taxes are approved. Melody Gutierrez,, "Gas taxes, cage-free chickens and a chopped-up California top fall ballot," 3 July 2018 According to reports, the app has been sending out photos to random contacts without the user’s permission, a massive privacy issue and a potential embarrassment for victims of the bug. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Three ways to stop your Samsung Galaxy phone from randomly texting out your pics," 3 July 2018 Its hilltop location abutting the Chattahoochee River affords the lavish gated estate unapparelled privacy. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Georgia’s Most-Expensive Home Is Back on the Market for a Whopping $25 Million," 2 July 2018 Planned Parenthood trains its employees on how to deal with different situations to ensure safety and privacy of patients and staff, Gillespie said. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Merrillville Planned Parenthood sees protests, but no harassment like that cited for Fort Wayne branch closure," 13 July 2018 The court majority in Roe vs. Wade said a woman’s right to decide whether to give birth was part of the constitutional right to privacy that the court had declared in a birth-control case in 1965. Bob Egelko,, "Kavanaugh on abortion: Speech gives evidence of where he’d stand on Roe vs. Wade," 12 July 2018 In what could be a precedent-setting case, Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled that Facebook cannot use privacy claims or user agreement contracts to prevent heirs from accessing social media accounts. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Parents Have Right to Access Dead Daughter's Facebook Account, German Court Rules," 12 July 2018 The decision, which Trump announced Monday night, is likely to face opposition not only from Democrats in Congress but also from leaders within the tech industry who oppose Kavanaugh’s perspective on issues related to privacy and net neutrality. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court Could Spell Trouble for Tech," 10 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

21 Sep 2018

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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

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