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3a : withdrawn from company or observation a private retreat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 former Gawker/Gizmodo Media Group is now G/O Media, taken over in a private equity deal. Fortune, "Who Are the Most Powerful Women in Politics?: The Broadsheet," 5 Aug. 2019 Local residents and gallery owners have also complained of an uptick in disruptive behavior and spray paint damage to private property. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Future Graffiti Additions to Prague’s John Lennon Wall Will Be Strictly Regulated," 5 Aug. 2019 Jordon is quick to point out that the cameras do not record private property or use facial recognition or license plate reading technology. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Police Department ramps up use of streetlamp video cameras, ACLU raises surveillance concerns," 5 Aug. 2019 Reducing numbers Gun buyback programs are designed to reduce the number of firearms by purchasing guns from private owners, and typically destroying them. Lacey Wallace, The Conversation, "Could a national gun buyback program reduce the 393 million guns on America’s streets?," 4 Aug. 2019 While private donations for research are now increasing, Dr. Wintemute has over the years spent more than $2 million of his own money to continue his research at the University of California-Davis. CBS News, "Guns and public health: Applying preventive medicine to a national epidemic," 4 Aug. 2019 This summer, the restaurant's private dining space is getting a makeover and will be about three times the size once construction is complete. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Local restaurants struggle in the summer. Here's how they cope and what you can do to help," 4 Aug. 2019 The less private way the royal family is celebrating? Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Shares Personal Birthday Message for Meghan Markle on Instagram," 4 Aug. 2019 Flip Yours Fitness & Wellness is Westminster’s only private personal training studio. baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Rec Sports: Meetings & Notices for Aug. 4, 2019," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But what about the design flaw in some boxer shorts that could make your privates less than private? Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Boxers with pockets? Men's underwear gets more functional features," 19 July 2019 That was before the privates and charters began to rule 3A in 2015. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Games to see during 2019 Arizona high school football season," 10 July 2019 One of the biggest advocates for keeping the coronation private was Sir Winston Churchill. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story Behind Queen Elizabeth II's Groundbreaking Coronation," 10 June 2019 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

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

8 Aug 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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