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 privatize (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 But the situation got even worse during COVID-19, when safety restrictions were used as a guise to essentially privatize what should be public lands, some coastal access advocates say., 15 July 2021 Blue Origin is part of a pioneering group of spaceflight companies that have spent billions of dollars trying to find a way to privatize the rocket industry. Dallas News, 1 July 2021 The 2009 deal to privatize Chicago street parking was struck by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, awarding an exclusive 75-year contract to Chicago Parking Meters for an upfront cash payment of $1.16 billion. Robert Channick,, 24 June 2021 Early in the Trump administration, investors had hoped that policy makers would eventually privatize the companies, and that once that path became clear, the value of the shares in these companies would increase sharply. Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, 23 June 2021 And states are free to do things such as privatize their highways, as Governor Mitch Daniels did with the Indiana Toll Road. Dominic Pino, National Review, 13 June 2021 But the process could be delayed by opposition groups and court rulings that have pushed back or derailed several attempts to privatize state entities over the past years. Costas Paris, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2021 An economic downturn and budget cuts prompted the county to privatize its ambulance service in 2016. Lucy Kafanov, CNN, 22 May 2021 Demonstrators still have a range of grievances, from stopping police violence to halting government plans to privatize state companies. John Otis And Juan Forero, WSJ, 12 May 2021

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of privatize was in 1948

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Dictionary Entries Near privatize

privative proposition



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Last Updated

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Privatize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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 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 privatize (audio) \ noun


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