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3a : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat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

The godparent controversy began last week when Buckingham Palace released a statement saying the people’s names would remain private, in keeping with their wishes, the Independent reported. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Harry and Meghan stir new debate about royal privilege by refusing to identify Archie’s godparents," 8 July 2019 No record of the decision will be made public or provided by SAG to anyone Pardue works with, though the union did not instruct Scott to keep the judgment private. Amy Kaufman, latimes.com, "SAG finds Kip Pardue guilty of serious misconduct. What repercussions will he face?," 7 July 2019 Most states have a vast patchwork of preschool choices — some public, some private, half day, full day, local and state run. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "An Online Preschool Closes a Gap but Exposes Another," 7 July 2019 Baby Archie’s grandparents were kept private, as keeping with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wishes. Vogue, "See New, Adorable Portraits of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s Christening," 6 July 2019 Markle and Prince Harry have chosen to keep their selections private, however. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Here's Why Meghan Markle's Approach to Royal Baby Archie's Christening Isn't So Surprising," 6 July 2019 Merger mania continued to have an impact as well, with Genesee & Wyoming jumping on a go-private deal and Symantec soaring on a report of a deal. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, "Berkshire Hathaway, Nike, Micron: Stocks That Defined the Week," 5 July 2019 GASPing for a solution The crisis prompted the creation of the Global Antibiotic Science Partnership (GASP), a public-private outfit launched in 2032. The Economist, "Attack of the superbugs: July 2041," 5 July 2019 The 6,000 square meters property is located within the Kigali Innovation City, a public-private partnership aimed at positioning Rwanda as a globally competitive and knowledge-based economy. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Top American universities are doubling down on their presence across Africa," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Get our daily newsletter Large banks’ private-banking arms have been lending against art since the 1970s. The Economist, "Borrowing against art is growing at a stunning rate," 4 July 2019 Detectives said the girl reported Frklic had her touch his privates as well. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Police: Man inappropriately touched 5-year-old girl," 21 June 2019 He was joined on day nine by Sherif, who was kicked off for no less a crime than publicly kicking Molly-Mae in the privates. 1843, "Love Island’s literary forebears, from Eden to The Tempest," 19 June 2019 Kravitz was playing a show in Stockholm when his skintight leather pants ripped, exposing his privates — piercing and all. Lydia Price, PEOPLE.com, "10 Celebrity Dads Who Love to Embarrass Their Kids," 14 June 2019 Assange faces an 18-count indictment that accuses him of soliciting and publishing classified information and of conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to crack a Defense Department computer password. CBS News, "U.S. submits formal extradition request to UK for WikiLeaks' Julian Assange," 12 June 2019 Social Animals Rated R for denuded privates and fellated veggies. Theresa Bennett, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Social Animals,’ Stalled Lives and Sexual Frustrations," 31 May 2018 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

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

11 Jul 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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