private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class a private park
b : belonging to or concerning an individual person, company, or interest a private house
c(1) : restricted to the individual or arising independently of others private opinion
(2) : carried on by the individual independently of the usual institutions a doctor in private practice also : being educated by independent study or a tutor or in a private school private students
d : not general in effect a private statute
e : of, relating to, or receiving hospital service in which the patient has more privileges than a semiprivate or ward patient
2a(1) : not holding public office or employment a private citizen
(2) : not related to one's official position : personal private correspondence
b : being a private
3a : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat
b : not known or intended to be known publicly : secret
c : preferring to keep personal affairs to oneself : valuing privacy highly
d : unsuitable for public use or display
4 : not having shares that can be freely traded on the open market a private company

private

noun

Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : one not in public office
2 obsolete : privacy
3 privates plural : private parts
4a : a person of low rank in any of various organizations (such as a police or fire department)
b : an enlisted person of the lowest rank in the marine corps or of one of the two lowest ranks in the army
in private
: not openly or in public

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Other Words from private

Adjective

privately adverb
privateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for private

Synonyms: Adjective

behind-the-scenes, confidential, esoteric, hushed, hush-hush, inside, intimate, nonpublic, privy, secret

Antonyms: Adjective

common, open, public

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Examples of private in a Sentence

Adjective

It was the first time many had seen works from the artist's private collection. At work he was always very serious, but in his private life, he was actually very funny and relaxed. Please keep all my personal information private. He's a very private person.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Today, Blue Origin—the private spaceflight company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—officially revealed Blue Moon, the company's lunar lander designed for towing cargo—scientific payloads or humans—to and from the moon. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Blue Origin Reveals the Blue Moon Lunar Lander," 9 May 2019 Despite living an immensely private life, Radziwill shared small glimpses into her world through her two books—Lee and Happy Times—which included photos and anecdotes about her friends and adventures. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Inside Lee Radziwill's Energetic Upper East Side Apartment," 8 May 2019 Mars in Cancer brings you more energy and personal strength to address domestic issues, and your private life will be invigorated through next month. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What May’s Aries Horoscope Means for You," 30 Apr. 2019 According to Us Weekly, the two are living together in London to share a more private life. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "5 Signs Taylor Swift Is Definitely Engaged To Joe Alwyn," 29 Apr. 2019 Francis told Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz during a private meeting at the Vatican in June. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope strives to fight cleric sex abuse with Vatican summit," 20 Feb. 2019 As private companies, Lyft has long been the No. 2 player in the U.S. ride-hailing dogfight to Uber, the global behemoth with more diverse revenue streams and more market share. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Lyft had to beat Uber to an IPO filing," 6 Dec. 2018 Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Kate Middleton Took These New Photos of Prince Louis, and They’re So Cute," 22 Apr. 2019 Marital battles that spark uncontrolled emotional outbursts should happen in private or in the presence of a therapist, and name-calling, threats or other forms of aggression are never OK. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Right Ways to Argue in Front of Your Children," 22 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Keeping the tour private required an agreement with the whole of the U.K. press. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Prince Harry Served in Afghanistan in Secret—Despite the Notoriously Cutthroat U.K. Press," 19 Apr. 2019 And there is a strong possibility that the United States has issued a secret arrest and extradition warrant for Mr. Assange in connection with his assistance to Chelsea Manning, the Army private who was convicted of revealing state secrets. Maggy Ayala And Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Ecuador Gives Assange Citizenship, Worsening Standoff With Britain," 11 Jan. 2018 Rumor has it, pineapple will make your privates smell sweet, though there is no science to prove it. 2. Kara Wahlgren, Seventeen, "6 Reasons It Might Smell Funky Down There," 7 Nov. 2017 Will their potty training woes, the shots of him or her in the bath with a smiling heart over their privates, and the tantrums captured for laughs some day be a source of embarrassment and resentment? Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The One Question Parents Should Ask Themselves Before Posting Their Kids on Social Media," 14 Jan. 2019 Consider the July 2016 take-private of Qihoo 360, an internet security firm. Jesse M. Fried And Matthew Schoenfeld, WSJ, "Will China Cheat American Investors?," 13 Dec. 2018 Torres is a private, though, and privates without sufficient training can’t walk the cyber school grounds by themselves. Matt Gallagher, WIRED, "Army of 01101111: The Making of a Cyber Battalion," 27 Mar. 2018 The company already has specialized local offices servicing wealthy clients, home, student, business and consumer loans like its Philadelphia private-banking office, but has not built an area retail branch network up until now. Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "JPMorgan Chase plans new branches in Philly and beyond," 11 Apr. 2018 Though Spotify’s intentions were lauded, many have questioned its moral authority to punish acts for conduct in their privates lives. Fortune, "Facing a Rebellion, Spotify Is Said to Rethink Policy on Artist Misconduct," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'private.' 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 private

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for private

Adjective

Middle English privat, from Anglo-French, from Latin privatus, from past participle of privare to deprive, release, from privus private, individual; probably akin to Latin pro for, in front of — more at for

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Statistics for private

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for private

The first known use of private was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for private

private

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: for the use of a single person or group : belonging to one person or group : not public
: not relating to a person's official position or job
: not known by the public or by other people

private

noun

English Language Learners Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of the lowest rank in the U.S. or British Army or the U.S. Marines

private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Kids Definition of private

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having to do with or for the use of a single person or group : not public private property
2 : not holding any public office a private citizen
3 : secret entry 1 sense 1 private meetings

Other Words from private

privately adverb

private

noun

Kids Definition of private (Entry 2 of 2)

: an enlisted person of the lowest rank in the marine corps or of either of the two lowest ranks in the army

private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət How to pronounce private (audio) \

Medical Definition of private

1 : of, relating to, or receiving hospital service in which the patient has more privileges than a semiprivate or ward patient
2 : of, relating to, or being private practice a private office a private practitioner

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private

adjective
pri·​vate

Legal Definition of private

1a : intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons : not available to the public a private park
b : not related to, controlled by, or deriving from the state a private school
2a : owned by or concerning an individual person or entity private land
b : not having shares that can be freely traded on the open market a private company
3 : affecting the interests of a particular person, class or group of persons, or locality private legislation private rights
4a : not invested with or engaged in public office or employment a private citizen
b : not related to or dependent on an official position private correspondence
5 : not known publicly or carried on in public especially : intended only for the persons involved
6 : made under private signature a private instrument

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Comments on private

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