privilege

noun
priv·​i·​lege | \ ˈpriv-lij How to pronounce privilege (audio) , ˈpri-və-\

Definition of privilege

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : prerogative especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office

privilege

verb
privileged; privileging

Definition of privilege (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to grant a privilege to
2 : to accord a higher value or superior position to privilege one mode of discourse over another

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Synonyms & Antonyms for privilege

Synonyms: Noun

appanage (also apanage), boon, concession, honor

Synonyms: Verb

authorize, entitle, qualify

Antonyms: Verb

disqualify

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Examples of privilege in a Sentence

Noun

It is evolving into an elite institution, open chiefly to the well-educated few. In short, marriage is becoming yet another form of privilege. — Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Commonweal, 2 Dec. 2005 The oldest of the students, she had become a confidante of Fern's and she alone was allowed to call her by her first name. It was not a privilege the others coveted. — Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003 But the two were grown in the same petri dish of power, prep school and privilege. — Howard Fineman, Newsweek, 16 Oct. 2000 Good health care should be a right and not a privilege. We had the privilege of being invited to the party. I had the privilege of knowing your grandfather. He lived a life of wealth and privilege.

Verb

The new tax laws unfairly privilege the rich. only professionals who meet the education and experience requirements set by law are privileged to use the title “interior designer” in Oklahoma
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Logan has kept each of his children in a bubble—of secrecy, of privilege, of self-regard—and in doing so, has done them no favors. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "How Succession Skewers the Rich," 9 Sep. 2019 Health care is a right, not a privilege, available in most developed societies. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Tired cry of “socialism”; Overly optimistic for our planet (8/27/19)," 27 Aug. 2019 The Politician paints a winking tableau of privilege, as if the sociopathy of Heathers or Cruel Intentions and the kooky anachronisms of Wes Anderson were shaken through the sieve of contemporary political correctness. Vogue, "Ben Platt on His Next Act: A Star Turn in Ryan Murphy's The Politician," 20 Aug. 2019 What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! The Rev. Ellin Dize, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Dize: Never be surprised by the venue God chooses to encapsulate your unsuspecting soul," 16 Aug. 2019 Presumably, that’s the intent of the filmmakers, who seem more interested in asking questions — about privilege, prejudice and more – than providing answers. Michael O'sullivan, Twin Cities, "‘Luce’ tackles racial privilege and prejudice by raising a million questions — then refuses to answer any of them," 12 Aug. 2019 So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. Hillel Italie, The Christian Science Monitor, "Author Toni Morrison remembered for her 'visionary force'," 6 Aug. 2019 This is not just a story about identity, privilege, and power. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Naomi Watts reveals Octavia Spencer is the reason she joined Luce," 31 July 2019 But this white male privilege varied substantially by state. Eric Hoyt, The Conversation, "Why Trump’s stoking of white racial resentment is effective – but makes all working-class Americans worse off," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Corporate interests have privileged access to trade negotiations in a way that unions, environmentalists, and other stakeholders do not. Daniel W. Drezner, Twin Cities, "Daniel Drezner: Warren’s trade plan is bad politics and worse policy," 1 Aug. 2019 Boris Johnson’s upbringing was privileged but contingent. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson," 13 June 2019 Today begins the first full week of Northern Hemisphere summer, the start of the languid days of disconnect for worker bees who are vacation-privileged. The Christian Science Monitor, "What really makes us what we are?," 25 June 2019 Which means that the Constitution should be construed in the bright light cast by the Declaration’s statement of the Founding generation’s general intention to privilege liberty. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: To construe the Constitution, look to the Declaration," 4 July 2019 Which means that the Constitution should be construed in the bright light cast by the Declaration’s statement of the Founding generation’s general intention to privilege liberty. George Will, National Review, "To Construe the Constitution, Look to the Declaration," 4 July 2019 The Department of Justice took Microsoft to trial and won, setting the precedent that technology companies can't maintain monopolistic power by privileging their products. CNN, "Silicon Valley is changing the world. It must do more to ensure everyone benefits," 25 June 2019 Traditional masculinity has tended to privilege qualities like competition, independence and self-sufficiency. The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "This is how many dads express their love for sons," 16 June 2019 In turn, racial prejudice confers social privilege to some and social and physical disparities to others, and is widely expressed in hierarchies that privilege people with white skin over people with darker skin colors. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Race and ethnicity: How are they different?," 12 June 2019

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

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for privilege

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin privilegium law for or against a private person, from privus private + leg-, lex law

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Statistics for privilege

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for privilege

The first known use of privilege was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for privilege

privilege

noun

English Language Learners Definition of privilege

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others
: a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud
somewhat formal : the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society

privilege

verb

English Language Learners Definition of privilege (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to give an advantage that others do not have to (someone or something)

privilege

noun
priv·​i·​lege | \ ˈpri-və-lij How to pronounce privilege (audio) \

Kids Definition of privilege

1 : a right or liberty granted as a favor or benefit especially to some and not others
2 : an opportunity that is special and pleasant I had the privilege of meeting the president.

privilege

noun
priv·​i·​lege

Legal Definition of privilege

1 : a right, license, or exemption from duty or liability granted as a special benefit, advantage, or favor: as
a : an exemption from liability where an action is deemed to be justifiable (as in the case of self-defense) or because of the requirements of a position or office also : the affirmative defense that an action is privileged — compare excuse
absolute privilege
: a privilege that exempts a person from liability especially for defamation regardless of intent or motive specifically : a privilege that exempts high public officials (as legislators) from liability for statements made while acting in their official capacity without regard to intent or malice
qualified privilege
: a privilege especially in the law of defamation that may be defeated especially by a showing of actual malice

called also conditional privilege

b : an exemption from a requirement to disclose information (as for trial) that is granted because of a relationship or position that demands confidentiality the attorney-client privilege the doctor-patient privilege the marital privilege the priest-penitent privilege — see also confidential communication
deliberative process privilege
: a privilege exempting the government from disclosure (as in discovery) of government agency materials containing opinions, recommendations, and other communications that are part of the decision-making process within the agency
executive privilege
: a privilege exempting the executive branch of government from disclosing communications if such disclosure would adversely affect the functions and decision-making process of that branch — see also United States v. Nixon

Note: Executive privilege is based on the separation of powers doctrine. In United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court held that this privilege is not absolute and that without a claim of a need to protect military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, the need for evidence in a criminal trial will outweigh a general assertion of executive privilege.

informant's privilege
: the privilege of the government to withhold the identity of an informant who has provided evidence for a criminal trial

called also informer's privilege

journalist's privilege
: reporter's privilege in this entry
privilege against self-incrimination
: a privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting a person from compulsion to make self-incriminating statements
reporter's privilege
: a privilege protecting a reporter from compulsion to reveal information acquired in the course of gathering news

called also journalist's privilege

c : something specially permitted or granted as a matter of discretion that may be limited or taken away right to…mooring permit is not necessarily created because discretionary state privilege was generously granted in [the] pastNational Law Journal — compare right
d in the civil law of Louisiana : a right of a creditor conferred by the nature of a debt to have priority over the debtor's other creditors
2 : any of various fundamental or specially sacred rights considered as particularly guaranteed to all persons by a constitution and especially by the privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution

History and Etymology for privilege

Latin privilegium law affecting a specific person, special right, from privus private + leg- lex law

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