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 What Masters did do in the forum, however, was create a brushfire for himself in an answer announcing support for privatizing Social Security. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2024 By the late 1980s, the Norwegian government had decided to privatize production in the Arctic Circle town. Ana Swanson Thomas Ekström, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024 The traditional rationale for privatizing American war-making is that corporate warriors can do the job for less. Elizabeth Barber, Harper's Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 McGonigal was tasked with digging up dirt on a rival Russian oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, with whom Deripaska had vied for control over Russia’s giant industrial metals companies after they were privatized in the 1990s. Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Berezovsky made a fortune as the Soviet Union crumbled and industry was privatized. Brent Lang, Variety, 22 Jan. 2024 Sectors from education to health care and elder care have increasingly been privatized. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Feb. 2024 With more than 500 provisions, the legislation would reduce regulations, weaken labor unions, privatize most state companies, eliminate election primaries, increase export taxes and remove some environmental protections. Lucía Cholakian Herrera Sarah Pabst, New York Times, 24 Jan. 2024 Through squeezing workers, dodging tax, privatizing the state and spurring climate breakdown, corporations are driving inequality and acting in the service of delivering ever-greater wealth to their rich owners. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 15 Jan. 2024

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 24 Apr. 2024.

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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