privy

adjective
\ ˈpri-vē \

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

privy

noun
\ ˈpri-vē \
plural privies

Definition of privy (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a small building having a bench with holes through which the user may defecate or urinate

b : toilet sense 1a

2 : a person having a legal interest of privity

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Other words from privy

Adjective

privily \ˈpri-və-lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for privy

Synonyms: Adjective

behind-the-scenes, confidential, esoteric, hush-hush, hushed, inside, intimate, nonpublic, private, secret

Antonyms: Adjective

common, open, public

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ramirez also described a flurry of medical activity that raised suspicion among some teachers, who were not privy to the children’s medical situations. Aaron Leibowitz, miamiherald, "Harsh prison or cushy camp? Ex-staffers have different takes on life at Homestead shelter," 11 July 2018 For about two years, Xiaolang Zhang was privy to information to which many in the tech world can only dream of having access: the inner workings of Apple Inc.'s secretive autonomous-car research. Allyson Chiu, latimes.com, "Ex-Apple engineer arrested on his way to China, charged with stealing autonomous-car secrets," 11 July 2018 For about two years, Xiaolang Zhang was privy to information to which many in the tech world can only dream of having access: the inner workings of Apple's secretive autonomous car research. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, "Ex-Apple engineer arrested on his way to China, charged with stealing company's autonomous car secrets," 11 July 2018 For example, Kenny Johnson, a former Towson assistant and one of Pitino's staff members who reportedly was privy to the promise made to five-star prospect Brian Bowen, recently was hired by new coach Ashley Howard at La Salle. Don Markus, baltimoresun.com, "Uncertainty for Maryland and college basketball after latest FBI-driven subpoenas," 7 July 2018 Guests will walk through the backdoor herb garden on their way to tour the backyard property which includes four barns and sheds, a privy, a smokehouse, kitchen garden, grape arbor and apple and maple trees. Courant Community, "Community News For The Glastonbury Edition," 2 July 2018 Believe me, there's some real, not-privy-to-the-public-eye frustrations. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles players balancing acknowledging team's circumstances while trying to change them," 18 June 2018 Nominees privy to their inclusion on the list, and onsite to talk to the press, were Iskwé, Jay Ferguson of Sloan, Duncan Hay Jennings from Frigs, Ian Swain and Alanna Stuart from Bonjay, Zaki Ibrahim, and Tamara Lindeman from The Weather Station. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Arcade Fire, Gord Downie & Daniel Caesar Make Polaris Music Prize Long List," 14 June 2018 Among the many exhibits is Queen Parr’s privy, which has a velvet canopy and a seat of crimson velvet for the royal posterior (adults £16.50; 20 percent discount with National Trust membership). New York Times, "36 Hours in the Cotswolds," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the time Szunyog's parents purchased the home, water came from a hand pump in the kitchen, gas lights and gas stoves furnished light and heat, and two privies provided sanitary needs. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland.com, "Preservationist Cynthia Szunyog lives for -- and in -- history: Medina County Local Legends," 2 Apr. 2018 City archaeologist Joe Bagley told WBZ that a find like this is important because people back in the colonial era threw a lot of stuff in their privies -- stuff that could give insight into their lives. CBS News, "Paul Revere's outhouse may have been dug up in Boston," 26 Sep. 2017 That's proven to be a boon for the profession because new excavations in privies have been flush with historical finds. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Excavations Begin on Paul Revere’s Privy," 27 Sep. 2017 During January’s Women’s March on Washington, for instance, that meant nearly 600 privies The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "Washington’s portable toilet industry is flush, thanks to Trump," 20 May 2017 The property has already given up artifacts including historic stone foundations for buildings, brick shafts and evidence of wooden box privies. Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post, "Centuries-old human remains found at Alexandria waterfront excavation," 19 May 2017 G.W. Babcock of Boise got the contract to build the courthouse for $38,225, without the six iron jail cells required by law, wells, pumps and outdoor privies, furniture or 15 iron stoves and pipe worth about $50 each. Arthur Hart, idahostatesman, "Ada County had to wait for its first real courthouse," 5 May 2017 MOUNT VERNON, Va. — The costumed characters at George Washington’s gracious estate here are used to handling all manner of awkward queries, whether about 18th-century privies or the first president’s teeth. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "In Search of the Slave Who Defied George Washington," 6 Feb. 2017 When German tankards were broken and fine Chinese porcelain dropped on the floor, they were tossed into the privies for archaeologists to recover centuries later. Kristin Romey, National Geographic, "What a Toilet Shows About Life During the American Revolution," 1 July 2016

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.

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First Known Use of privy

Adjective

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for privy

Adjective

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

Noun

see privy entry 1

Noun

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

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Phrases Related to privy

privy to

the Privy Council

the privy purse

Statistics for privy

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for privy

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

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More Definitions for privy

privy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of privy

: a small outdoor building that is used as a toilet

privy

noun
\ ˈpri-vē \
plural privies

Kids Definition of privy

: a small building without plumbing used as a toilet

privy

noun
\ ˈpri-vē \
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

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