\ ˈpri-vē How to pronounce privy (audio) \

Definition of privy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : belonging or relating to a person in one's individual rather than official capacity
3 : admitted as one sharing in a secret privy to the conspiracy


\ ˈpri-vē How to pronounce privy (audio) \
plural privies

Definition of privy (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a room or small building having a bench with holes through which the user may defecate or urinate
2 : a person having a legal interest of privity

Other Words from privy


privily \ ˈpri-​və-​lē How to pronounce privy (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for privy

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of privy in a Sentence

Adjective … there were no secrets in the little village to which he was not privy. — Sidney Sheldon, The Sands of Time, 1988 Halberstam and I and the other correspondents would have felt less beleaguered had we been privy to the secret debate in Washington. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 … to assure you that I am neither privy to, nor cognizant of, any such clique; and that I most potently disbelieve in the existence of any such. — Abraham Lincoln, letter, 13 Oct. 1849 privy information on the current state of the peace negotiations privy meetings between high-level representatives from both sides for the purpose of bringing about an armistice
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective North Rim visitors are still privy to the breathtaking canyon views that define one of the most popular U.S. national parks. Laura Randall, Washington Post, 18 May 2022 But American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin said more transparency could also help advocates who want to push for more public health funding but haven’t been privy to the documentation provided privately to Congress. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 5 Mar. 2022 Benn spent a lot of time acting behind Elordi and was often privy to conversations between him and Levinson about timing, line delivery and other tricks of the trade. Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 2022 Employees are not privy to confidential information, including financial statements, shareholder lists, and other material non-public documents. Anat Alon-beck, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 For now, Stall said, Rhodes still has the support of people on the periphery of the movement - those who approve of his stances but are not privy to his actions. Hannah Allam, Spencer S. Hsu, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Sep. 2021 The process, which not even federal prosecutors were privy to, ended with one lawyer being removed for unexplained reasons. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 23 June 2021 These members of King’s inner circle seem to speak a secret language of touch to which the viewer is not entirely privy. New York Times, 13 May 2021 Because of their dominant market positions, these technology companies are increasingly privy to vast amounts of data that is often useful in investigating, detecting and removing malicious cyber adversaries. Robert Mcmillan, WSJ, 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a local politician in the French city of Rouen, Laura Slimani has been privy to degrading comments on the job on several occasions. Colette Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 June 2022 As the narrating voice of a pamphlet devoted to gossip about Britain’s upper crust during the Regency period, Andrews was privy to Season One’s big mystery: which of the series’ characters was writing under the name Lady Whistledown. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 So Thurmond wasn't privy to a lot of the drama taking place on the course ahead of him as the Sun Devils inched closer to a berth in the national championship match. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 31 May 2022 Readers are privy to the same questions the characters are facing while examining their choices, options and pasts. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 9 May 2022 News audiences looking to Maxar’s images to understand war will likely never view them in the fuller context to which military analysts are privy. Jordan G. Teicher, The New Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 Good morning, There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in mergers and acquisitions that the public usually isn’t privy to. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 2 May 2022 This is not to ask why, as perplexing as that question may be to so many of us who weren’t privy to what any of those three athletes were going through. Paul Newberry, ajc, 30 Apr. 2022 According to testimony, owner Dan Snyder was aware of the numbers shared with the league while also being privy to the actual data. oregonlive, 18 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'privy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of privy


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for privy

Adjective and Noun

Middle English prive, from Anglo-French privé, from Latin privatus private

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Time Traveler for privy

Time Traveler

The first known use of privy was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near privy



privy council

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Statistics for privy

Last Updated

31 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Privy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for privy


\ ˈpri-vē How to pronounce privy (audio) \
plural privies

Kids Definition of privy

: a small building without plumbing used as a toilet


\ ˈpri-vē How to pronounce privy (audio) \
plural privies

Legal Definition of privy

: one having privity especially : one who acquires an interest in the subject matter (as property) of prior or pending litigation and is bound by the judgment as if he or she were a party to the action

History and Etymology for privy

Anglo-French privé, from Old French, intimate, confidant, from privé intimate, familiar, from Latin privatus private

More from Merriam-Webster on privy

Nglish: Translation of privy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of privy for Arabic Speakers


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