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

Definition of privatize

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

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Other Words from privatize

privatization \ ˌprī-​və-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce privatization (audio) \ 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

The budget reduction would have privatized food services in the Jail. Courtney Astolfi,, "Here are the jail questions that Cuyahoga County Sheriff Cliff Pinkney won’t answer," 16 July 2019 Tyre's free, public beach is also rare among Lebanon’s highly privatized coastline, and has some of the cleanest waters in the country. Abby Sewell, National Geographic, "Discover the best beaches in the Middle East," 29 May 2019 Voucher critics see such programs as an effort to privatize education, break teachers unions and — because most voucher schools in Wisconsin are religious schools — promote religious ideology. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos touts school choice during visit to Milwaukee voucher school," 16 Sep. 2019 The city’s history and coolest nooks and crannies are best understood with a Two Feet & a Heartbeat walking tour, themed around coffee, culture, cocktails, crime or even fromage, and customizable and privatized, too. Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood's Travel Guide to Western Australia," 16 July 2019 Now and again there has been talk of privatizing Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston. Patrick Cooke, WSJ, "‘Romance of the Rails’ Review: Hear That Lonesome Whistle?," 23 Jan. 2019 Alibaba had already listed its primary B2B business——in Hong Kong through a $1.7 billion IPO in 2007 but then privatized the unit in 2012 for $2.45 billion in preparation to relist the entire business. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Amid Protests, Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange May Lose Chance at Alibaba Listing—Again," 21 Aug. 2019 The legislation eliminated the Board of Supervisor’s oversight role, and effectively privatized the mental health system in Milwaukee County. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Proposed mental health hospital should be at County Grounds, not in West Allis, county supervisor says," 11 June 2019 This is in part because the electricity distribution companies inherited a derelict infrastructure from the Nigerian government through the National Electric Power Authority, which was unbundled in 2005 and privatized in 2013. Samuel Ayokunle Olowosejeje, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria’s unreliable electricity costs its economy $29 billion a year—solar power would save billions," 1 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'privatize.' 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 privatize

1948, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for privatize

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

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The first known use of privatize was in 1948

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English Language Learners Definition of privatize

: to remove (something) from government control and place it in private control or ownership


transitive verb
pri·​va·​tize | \ ˈprī-və-ˌtīz How to pronounce privatize (audio) \
privatized; privatizing

Legal Definition of privatize

: to make private especially : to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership

Other Words from privatize

privatization \ ˌprī-​və-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən, -​ˌtī-​ How to pronounce privatization (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on privatize

Spanish Central: Translation of privatize

Comments on privatize

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


to fake an opponent out of position

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