private

adjective
pri·​vate | \ ˈprī-vət \

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3a : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat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

In her private life, Simpson refused to play by conventional rules. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Babs Simpson, a Former Vogue Editor Who Collaborated With Irving Penn, Has Died at 105," 7 Jan. 2019 In 1996 the couple tied the knot in a private ceremony on an island off the coast of Georgia. Rose Minutaglio, Town & Country, "Inside John F. Kennedy Jr.'s 'Adventurous' Relationship with Model Julie Baker," 3 Jan. 2019 Kushner and Kloss tied the knot in a private Jewish ceremony on October 18 in upstate New York, according to People. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Karlie Kloss Tears Up in Never-Before-Seen Footage of Her Wedding to Joshua Kushner," 2 Jan. 2019 Back in October, supermodel Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner pulled off a private wedding (on a Thursday!) in upstate New York. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Karlie Kloss Just Shared Gorgeous Photos from Her Honeymoon With Joshua Kushner," 28 Dec. 2018 One of Facebook’s biggest product focuses over the past 18 months has been around private groups, which essentially recreate the Facebook experience but with a smaller group of people. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook needs a ‘reset’ button for your friend list," 27 Dec. 2018 Newbury came up with a bender of a trip, exploring 66 countries over two years via private jet. Marisa Meltzer, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Latest Travel Trend? Super Sabbaticals," 24 Dec. 2018 Earlier this year, a family in Portland, Oregon found that their private conversation had been sent to a random contact in a family member's phone. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Alexa Sends Man 1,700 Recordings From a Stranger's House," 20 Dec. 2018 Armed with canvases, glue, and bins of photos and inspirational quotes, Amy travels to private homes across the country and helps party participants create personalized works of art. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "How One Woman Is Using Art to Give a Voice to Those With Disabilities," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Avoiding any hierarchy of prestige or loss, privates take their place alongside generals and national heroes. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "In Memorial to War Dead, Israel Avoids Addressing Its Conflicts," 16 Apr. 2018 So in the show ring, Max gets all glassy-eyed and thinks of fireworks and flowers and dancing with Arnett as the show judge inspects his privates. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Parents say 'Show Dogs' movie grooms kids for sexual abuse. Now those scenes are cut | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 2018 Everyone else would sext you their privates for a fleeting feeling of human connection. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Facebook Binds, and Shatters, Communities," 11 May 2018 In 2010, Manning, an Army private, contacted Mr. Lamo via instant message. Jeffery C. Mays, BostonGlobe.com, "Adrian Lamo, 37, hacker who reported Chelsea Manning to the FBI," 19 Mar. 2018 Through its doors have walked privates and generals, seamen and admirals, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, Purple Heart recipients, veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Naperville Sun, "Letters to the editor: VFW post more than just a building, Bibbiano has qualifications for DuPage sheriff," 15 Mar. 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

10 Jan 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 \

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 \

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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