pri·vat·ize | \ˈprī-və-ˌtīz \
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 \ 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 bill previously included a measure that would have privatized air traffic control, which dropped to secure support for the first bill giving the agency long-term funding since 2012. Lauren Zumbach,, "FAA reauthorization bill formalizes ban on bumping inspired by United passenger-dragging incident," 27 Apr. 2018 Opponents of the contract have branded it as an attempt to privatize the Sewerage & Water Board, whose officials have in recent years grated against the hiring process of the city's Civil Service Department. Beau Evans,, "Judge to keep eye on Sewerage & Water Board staff vacancies," 20 Apr. 2018 In the near future, the city of Detroit is approaching collapse, and a sinister megacorp named Omni Consumer Products privatizes the police force to clean up the streets. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "10 subversive, dark American futures to stream on July 4th," 4 July 2018 What started as survival entrepreneurialism during the devastating famine of the 1990s has grown into a full-blown capitalist economy, complete with de facto privatized production, competing bus and taxi companies, and individual investment. Hannah Song, Time, "Forget Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Here’s Why the People of North Korea Are the Real Solution," 13 June 2018 Set a decade in the future, the movie finds Los Angeles in the throes of mass civil unrest, born out of water shortages related to privatized ownership of the precious commodity. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Hotel Artemis' isn't worth checking out, despite its guest list," 8 June 2018 Sheriff Randy Smith has said his department is cooperating with the investigation of Strain and a work-release program that Strain privatized while sheriff. Robert Rhoden,, "FBI obtains records in probe of former St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain," 17 Apr. 2018 The effort to privatize city parking In 2013, with a $34 million deficit looming, City Council embarked on a plan to lease the parking system to a private company. Sharon Coolidge,, "Park your car in Cincinnati? It's going to cost you (a lot) more.," 3 July 2018 The main friction point was that Shulkin resisted the Trump administration’s efforts to privatize the VA. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Why Trump would really, really rather not fire Scott Pruitt," 15 June 2018

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 2018

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The first known use of privatize was in 1948

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More Definitions for privatize



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 \
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- \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on privatize

Spanish Central: Translation of privatize

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