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

In the interview with Fox News, Wilkie noted such a move would need support from Capitol Hill and said the agency’s growing budget does not reflect a move to privatize. Jennifer Griffin, Fox News, "New VA secretary warns Trump's signature program could collapse without fix," 3 Aug. 2018 The White House then proposed a plan to privatize the service, and Amazon joined a new retailer lobby to oppose raising shipping costs, putting Trump and Amazon in a more traditional political conflict. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Trump keeps threatening tech companies, but he’s terrible at following through," 29 Aug. 2018 But the move to privatize is also seen as a pressing necessity after years of severe foreign-exchange shortage. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Ethiopia Opens Door to the World With Unprecedented Privatization Plan," 6 June 2018 Orlando’s airport has backed off from its push to privatize security officers. Kevin Spear,, "Orlando airport backs off call to privatize TSA," 30 Mar. 2018 Another major announcement by the new government center around plans to liberalize the economy, including decisions to privatize fully or partially lucrative state enterprises such as aviation, energy, telecommunication, and manufacturing. Awol K. Allo, CNN, "Ethiopia's new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?," 7 June 2018 School choice is seen by critics as the centerpiece of the movement to privatize America’s public education system, arguably the country’s most important civic institution. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "There is a movement to privatize public education in America. Here’s how far it is has gotten.," 23 June 2018 Rosselló is pushing a bill to privatize the power system. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Power restored to 1.4 million Puerto Rico customers after island-wide blackout," 19 Apr. 2018 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

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

5 Dec 2018

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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 \
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

Comments on privatize

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to enclose within walls

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