privy

1 of 2

adjective

1
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
privily adverb

privy

2 of 2

noun

plural privies
1
a
: 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

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
Mucking out the man’s privy and carrying water for his wife provide her with many hours of reflection on how to make a poem. Lawrence Jackson, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 One illustration shows Henry sitting in his privy chamber, playing a harp—a typical depiction of David in psalters and Books of Hours at the time. V.m. Braganza, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Aug. 2023
Noun
But it could actually only be used by up to 40 people at a time – each side of the privy is lined with around 20 holes. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, 19 Oct. 2022 The ramshackle houses are heated with firewood and some still make do with an outdoor privy. Alissa Simon, Variety, 12 Nov. 2021 See all Example Sentences for privy 

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near privy

Cite this Entry

“Privy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/privy. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

privy

1 of 2 adjective
1
2
3
: sharing in a secret
privy to the conspiracy

privy

2 of 2 noun
plural privies
1
: a small building without plumbing used as a toilet
2

Legal Definition

privy

noun
plural privies
: 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
Etymology

Noun

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

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