pri·​vat·​ize ˈprī-və-ˌtīz How to pronounce privatize (audio)
privatized; privatizing; privatizes

transitive verb

: to make private
especially : to change from public to private control or ownership
privatize an industry
The mayor's threat to privatize trash collection shook things up. Jeff Bailey
privatization noun

Examples of privatize in a Sentence

The city decided to privatize the municipal power company. a proposal to privatize the health-care system
Recent Examples on the Web Now the teacher's unions have abandoned standards, making all their arguments against privatizing education moot. richard_b 10m Edited And the Democrats never seem to pay a price for all of this. Jeff Eager, National Review, 2 Nov. 2023 In recent years, as other communes in Israel were privatizing land or declaring bankruptcy, Be’eri had twelve hundred members and a long wait list of young couples desperate to move in. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 19 Oct. 2023 That comment seemed to confirm that Thiel was in favor of privatizing the NHS, according to Eerke Boiten, professor of cybersecurity at De Montfort University. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2023 Instead, one of the members berated Beckley for moving ahead with privatizing even though the position of town planner had been vacant since March. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, 14 Oct. 2023 However, there are several beaches in Puerto Rico that, for all practical purposes, businesses have privatized, contrary to the archipelago’s law that all beaches are public spaces. Camille Padilla Dalmau and Frances Medina,, 4 Oct. 2023 Just below, a small spa includes a wellness space, complete with a sauna and wading pool, that can be privatized for an hour. Vogue, 28 Sep. 2023 Founded in 1920 and nationalized in 1947, the carrier was slowly privatized in the 1990s, and only 51 percent of shares in it must be held by Australians, while the rest may be held by offshore investors. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2023 Ever since German colonialization, the arable land the Herero used to graze cattle has been privatized. Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'privatize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of privatize was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near privatize

Cite this Entry

“Privatize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition


transitive verb
pri·​va·​tize ˈprī-və-ˌtīz How to pronounce privatize (audio)
privatized; privatizing
: to make private
especially : to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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