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

But efforts to help identify threats can also run into concerns about privacy and civil rights, with the potential for unfair and damaging effects. Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Even with ‘red flags’ in their youth, mass shooters often slip through the cracks," 7 Aug. 2019 Both places have seen boom and bust before, and both face long-term challenges (complaints about water use for fracking, and about monopoly power and data privacy concerns for tech). Kate Galbraith,, "How Silicon Valley resembles the Texas oil patch," 7 Aug. 2019 Those in-home delivery services have already raised touchy questions about privacy. Tali Arbel, Fortune, "How an Alleged Amazon Theft Ring Got the Goods," 2 Aug. 2019 Voice assistants are growing in popularity, but the technology has been experiencing a parallel rise in concerns about privacy and accuracy. Anna Washenko, Ars Technica, "Siri records fights, doctor’s appointments, and sex (and contractors hear it)," 26 July 2019 France’s finance minister raised concerns about privacy, money-laundering and terrorist use, and U.S. lawmakers called on Facebook to cease all development of Libra. Alexis Papazoglou, The New Republic, "Facebook Is a New Form of Power," 22 July 2019 The central banker told America’s House of Representatives that Facebook should address fears about privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability before moving forward with the project. The Economist, "Business this week," 13 July 2019 The effort is being watched by other countries hoping to better regulate pornographic content but has raised concerns about privacy, censorship, and competition., "GE employees in Lynn reject contract," 11 July 2019 Debates about transaction privacy could have a major impact on how the financial industry evolves. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Dutch regulator says banks shouldn’t snoop on customer payments to churches, casinos, or sex clubs," 10 July 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

10 Aug 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

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).


a period when something is suspended

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