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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web What’s damaging these privet leaves? oregonlive, 25 July 2021 Removing privet can be back-breaking work. Dennis Pillion |, al, 3 Nov. 2020 Rodney and Ben and Max nosing the privet. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2020 After half a century, the prison was abandoned and the land — apart from a police shooting range — was reclaimed by pines and privet, dewberry and muscadine vines. Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2023 Just to the east, a draw etched by Five Mile Creek cuts through the lush property, much of which is thick with nasty invasive privet. Dallas News, 10 June 2022 These are places of extreme privilege, but inside the privet hedge the story that unfolds is the same one that unfolds inside chain link. Lesley Finn, Longreads, 7 July 2022 Residents last month voted to approve topless sunbathing on all public and private beaches, a move that promises to bring a dash of European abandon to an enclave better known for preppies and privet hedges. Globe Staff,, 5 June 2022 The result is a forest that once again is able to flourish, where the beauty of the cottonwoods, hickories, elms, ash and pecans isn’t choked by the aggressive privet. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'privet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near privet

Cite this Entry

“Privet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


priv·​et ˈpriv-ət How to pronounce privet (audio)
: a shrub that is related to the olive, has small white flowers, and is widely used for hedges

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