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 Adding to the skepticism is the fact that President Trump has already gone on the record as wanting to privatize the postal service in 2018. Casey Taylor, The New Republic, "Death by a Thousand Cuts for One of America’s Last Great Institutions," 6 Aug. 2020 Both presidents mounted full-scale assaults on the social safety net—Bush with his misbegotten attempt to privatize Social Security, Trump in his relentless campaign against the Affordable Care Act. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Republican Phantasmagoria," 18 June 2020 Gates and landscaping privatize the main house, which opens to bright living spaces with white walls and hardwood floors. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Sly Stallone readies for another round in La Quinta," 30 May 2020 Fifty years later, Black residents in Connecticut staged wade-ins up and down the state’s shoreline—a protest against the fact that wealthy, white residents had privatized 65 of the 72 available miles of beaches. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Racist Gatekeepers of American Land," 29 May 2020 Germany will offer Deutsche Lufthansa AG a 9 billion-euro ($9.8 billion) bailout that thrusts the state back into the heart of a company privatized with fanfare two decades ago. Fortune, "Germany will take Lufthansa stake in landmark $9.8 billion bailout," 25 May 2020 El Al has been closely tied to the development of Israel after being founded alongside the country itself in 1948, and was state-owned until being privatized in 2004. Ivan Levingston,, "Israel Weighs Options for El Al Including Bankruptcy," 13 May 2020 Or it might be related to a belief among some Republicans that the agency be privatized. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Trump’s grudge against the US Postal Service is a threat to the US election," 13 Apr. 2020 Years of efforts to privatize many of its functions have resulted in upheaval. oregonlive, "VA hospitals struggle to support civilian health care system amid coronavirus outbreak," 18 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for privatize

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The first known use of privatize was in 1948

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Privatize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for privatize


How to pronounce privatize (audio)

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

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