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

In his speech, Tsipras defended his record, said Mitsotakis could afford to cut taxes because his government put the economy right and warned the government not to privatize the ailing electricity company PPC. Washington Post, "New Greek PM emphasizes tax cuts, jobs, security," 20 July 2019 Take, for example, when the program decided to privatize one of its smaller rockets, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV, about a decade back. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Quartz India, "The ISRO isn’t enough. India needs its own Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos," 19 July 2019 The lawsuit was filed a year after Puerto Rico’s governor signed a historic bill to privatize a power company that is more than $9 billion in debt and operating an unstable electric grid devastated nearly two years ago by Hurricane Maria. Danica Coto,, "Puerto Rico oversight board accuses oil companies of fraud," 1 July 2019 The party has promised to jump-start the economy, a tall order, by lowering taxes and privatizing services in the country. Catherine Kim, Vox, "Vox Sentences: “A vast network of underage victims”," 9 July 2019 But occasionally, a car is not a mode of travel, but an indoor space in a world where indoor spaces are increasingly privatized and inaccessible to many people. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "People in Japan are renting cars but not driving them," 5 July 2019 Reagan’s dreams of privatizing low-Earth orbit came crashing down—literally and figuratively—on January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger blew up during flight and killed all seven astronauts on board. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "NASA Went to the Stock Exchange to Try to Sell the ISS," 7 June 2019 More schools privatized, making elite education a luxury for the wealthy. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Family feuds and social media spats: The generational divide that's splitting apart Hong Kong," 9 July 2019 Still, should athletic departments of public universities be privatized from the rest of their schools? Michael Mccann,, "How Transforming Into a DSO Could Impact Florida State's Athletic Department," 11 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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Last Updated

15 Aug 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

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of or relating to the heavens

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