priv·​et | \ ˈpri-vət How to pronounce privet (audio) \

Definition of privet

: a Eurasian deciduous shrub (Ligustrum vulgare) of the olive family with semievergreen leaves and small white flowers that is widely used for hedges broadly : any of various shrubs of the same genus

Examples of privet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Today the trash is gone, as is most of the invasive Chinese privet, a nasty undergrowth that overwhelms native trees and vegetation. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 1 Oct. 2021 Poisoning privet isn’t an option in a floodplain; instead it’s been carefully removed by hand. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 1 Oct. 2021 To create hedges, Ms. Johnsen suggests using traditional privet and arborvitaes combined with trees such as the deer-resistant copper beech, which can grow into a type of vegetative screening. Hannah Selinger, WSJ, 19 Nov. 2020 On a handsome terrace a few miles east, an ordinary privet has been transformed into an ocean liner, complete with cresting wave. Kieran Dodds; Text By Peter Ross, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Oct. 2020 This is Japanese privet, otherwise known as Japanese ligustrum. Neil Sperry,, 11 June 2020 Behind the privet hedge, besides the daffodils There’s pansies, thyme, and rosemary. Hannah Aizenman, The New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2019 My fallen-from-grace list includes the Japanese tree lilac (a winner in 1996), once presented convincingly to me as an ethereal cloud of white blossoms but now, to my eyes, not much more than a privet bush on a stick. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2020 Earth smells and the pungency of privet and balsam were still acute at this hour, unmingled; the shadows were as bold as in a child’s picture book; swifts and house martins tracked across the pale sky overhead, shrilling in thrilled anticipation. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'privet.' 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 privet

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for privet

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for privet

Time Traveler

The first known use of privet was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near privet



privet andromeda

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Last Updated

8 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Privet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for privet



English Language Learners Definition of privet

: a bush with green leaves that is often used for hedges


priv·​et | \ ˈpri-vət How to pronounce privet (audio) \

Kids Definition of privet

: a shrub with small white flowers that is often used for hedges

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