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

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Example Sentences

The city decided to privatize the municipal power company. a proposal to privatize the health-care system
Recent Examples on the Web The government has repeatedly promised to address high-level corruption and privatize state assets but efforts have fallen short, observers say. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 7 Jan. 2022 In a new attack ad, the DSCC played clips of Masters calling to privatize Social Security. Alexandra Marquez, NBC News, 19 Aug. 2022 Almost every social-media platform offers its users an option to privatize their account—a way for people to control who engages with their content, often to avoid the judgment, schadenfreude, bullying, and snark that are ubiquitous online. Jennifer Miller, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 The annual report also addresses the U.K. government’s plans to privatize Channel 4. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 15 July 2022 The allegations come in a pivotal moment for Blue Origin, as the company attempts to compete in the increasingly crowded race to privatize space travel. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 In education, the neoliberal goal has been to privatize public schools to the extent possible, or, alternatively, to create forms of consumer choice, such as vouchers, that will constrain the public schools. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, 20 May 2022 Fix the major problem sites like bridges and tunnels, privatize roads that are not used except by those that live off them, commuter shuttle programs, and timed lane restrictions, Cargo trains could also use commuter rail lines after hours. Baltimore Sun, 18 May 2022 Ahead of the busy summer season, the town is moving to privatize its airport and impose new restrictions on how often planes can fly in. James Fanelli, WSJ, 15 May 2022 See More

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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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 Sep. 2022.

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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: 8 Sep 2022

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