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3a : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat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 5-4 directive, issued just before 3 a.m. Friday, overruled lower-court decisions and prompted a frustrated dissent from the liberal minority, which had asked for a chance to discuss the case at the court’s regular private meeting on Friday. ... Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Denies Reprieve to Alabama Death-Row Inmate," 12 Apr. 2019 SpaceIL is a small nonprofit with a budget of about $100 million, nearly all raised by private donors. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceIL's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails To Reach the Moon," 11 Apr. 2019 Over the weekend, a post showed up in private makeup group on Facebook advertising Jeffree Star Cosmetics Magic Star Concealers for sale. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Someone Leaked Jeffree Star’s New Concealers and Now the FBI is Getting Involved," 2 Apr. 2019 However, because most games are played on private platforms, not open public forums, expectations of privacy or free speech would largely not apply. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel hopes to clean up toxic speech in game chat with AI and machine learning," 20 Mar. 2019 This is a popular choice for bedrooms or other private areas. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Drapes or Curtains? Why Choosing the Right Window Treatment Matters," 27 Mar. 2019 The Royal Champagne Hotel Spa feels like your own private sanctuary. Samantha Tse, Allure, "I Went to the Champagne Region in France to Get a Facial and My Skin Has Never Looked Better," 26 Mar. 2019 The ultra-private couple weren't seen attending any after parties that night. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk Make a Rare Appearance in NYC," 20 Mar. 2019 Branca’s new designs are on display in a private apartment above de Gournay’s flagship showroom in Paris’s Saint-Germain neighborhood. Penelope Rowlands, ELLE Decor, "Designer Alessandra Branca's New Private Client Atelier by the Seine," 15 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

18 Apr 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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