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

Synonyms for privation


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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 Drag privation out long enough, and scurvy’s victims are stripped of their ability to learn and feel and remember. Bathsheba Demuth, The Atlantic, 22 Sep. 2021 But the real reason for Cuban privation is totalitarianism. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2021 Yet other regions of China experienced greater economic privation, and the timing and the location of the upheavals don’t quite correspond with the overseas exodus. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 The island was simmering with discontent before 2020, but Covid-19 has put regular privation on steroids and exposed the injustice of a system in which the Communist Party enjoys lavish privileges and everyone else grovels for crumbs. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 18 July 2021 McHugh is tremendously skilled at conveying dire poverty while acknowledging the fears such privation provokes in others — resulting in a punitive lack of empathy among other classes. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2021 This long period of privation culminates to a genuine pleasure of getting together. Anne Quito, Quartz, 8 June 2021 There is nothing evil in life for him who rightly comprehends that the privation of life is no evil: To know how to die delivers us from all subjection and constraint. Kyle Smith, National Review, 18 May 2021 In several interior monologues—marked, often, by bright strobes that offer a respite from the relative sensory privation of the set’s black-and-white motif—the lovers’ language takes a turn away from the day-to-day chatter. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for privation

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

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Cite this Entry

“Privation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of privation

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

More from Merriam-Webster on privation

Nglish: Translation of privation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of privation for Arabic Speakers


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