pri·​va·​tion | \ prī-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce privation (audio) \

Definition of privation

1 : an act or instance of depriving : deprivation
2 : the state of being deprived especially : lack of what is needed for existence

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for privation


deprivation, loss

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of privation in a Sentence

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

Nor did the stark gray privations of Soviet central planning or wartime rationing, which continued in Britain until four years after Orwell’s death, become permanent. Kyle Smith, National Review, "What Would Orwell Think of Us?," 11 June 2019 But Kim Jong Un experienced none of its privations and probably never saw the suffering of his fellow North Koreans in person. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "‘Great Successor’ book excerpt: Kim Jong Un’s gilded boyhood of chefs, travel and lessons on ruthless rule," 6 June 2019 Mazloumian died shortly afterward, his health having given out amid the danger and privation of the war. Charles Glass, Harper's magazine, "“Tell Me How This Ends”," 10 Feb. 2019 Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has many enemies, not least millions of Venezuelans who have endured the privation and brutality of his socialist rule. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Venezuela’s Drone Attack," 5 Aug. 2018 Even when chaos and privation seem implacable, the human drive for dignity and validation abides. Erika P. Rodriguez, Smithsonian, "Photo of the day," 27 June 2018 Funny that existentialism doesn’t seem such a downer anymore, now that the omnipresent threat to our humanity is not material privation but informational excess. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Giacometti: Beguiled by Thin Men and Women," 6 June 2018 Your condition resembles a state of nature, except without the threat of privation or predation: There are perfectly safe sandwiches, apples in reasonable shape and, frequently, a store featuring a wide range of Tom Ford fragrances. Sasha Chapin, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Airport Layovers," 29 May 2018 Despite these privations, analysts say there are few signs that North Korea’s economy has reached a breaking point. New York Times, "Sanctions Are Hurting North Korea. Can They Make Kim Give In?," 20 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of privation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for privation

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about privation

Statistics for privation

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for privation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for privation



English Language Learners Definition of privation

formal : a lack or loss of the basic things that people need to live properly

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on privation

What made you want to look up privation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!