pri·​va·​tion prī-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce privation (audio)
: an act or instance of depriving : deprivation
: the state of being deprived
especially : lack of what is needed for existence

Example Sentences

The country has suffered through long periods of economic privation. the constant privation of sleep was starting to affect my work
Recent Examples on the Web The overwhelming majority of us — even many of those who have suffered the scourge of bigotry — have never experienced war or privation. Joe Klein, Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2023 Throughout history, death was associated with assaults, sickness, and privation. George Church, Discover Magazine, 16 Oct. 2012 The world gets an occasional glimpse of this privation when uprisings break out against the regime—followed by the usual arrests and trials. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 Nov. 2022 Contributing to the recent surge is the upheaval in Venezuela, where the Nicolás Maduro government violently suppresses dissent and citizens face extreme privation. Samantha J. Gross,, 1 Oct. 2022 Philip decided to send Charles to his alma mater, Gordonstoun, a boarding school on the frigid coast of Scotland renowned for its commitment to building character through rigor and privation. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2022 This time, Less’ travels are restricted to the United States, with Arthur making a mad cross-country dash as privation chases his heels. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2022 But price controls substitute actual privation, and waiting in queues, for high monetary prices. WSJ, 10 June 2022 Why can’t our leaders imagine anything other than a future of privation and control? Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 25 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'privation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English privacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin privation-, privatio, from privare to deprive

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of privation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near privation

Cite this Entry

“Privation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


pri·​va·​tion prī-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce privation (audio)
: the state of being deprived

More from Merriam-Webster on privation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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