public

adjective
pub·​lic | \ ˈpə-blik \

Definition of public

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : exposed to general view : open
2a : of, relating to, or affecting all the people or the whole area of a nation or state public law
b : of or relating to a government
c : of, relating to, or being in the service of the community or nation
3a : of or relating to people in general : universal
4 : of or relating to business or community interests as opposed to private affairs : social
5 : devoted to the general or national welfare : humanitarian
6a : accessible to or shared by all members of the community
b : capitalized in shares that can be freely traded on the open market often used with go
7 : supported by public funds and private contributions rather than by income from commercials public radio public television

public

noun

Definition of public (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a place accessible or visible to the public usually used in the phrase in public
2 : the people as a whole : populace
3 : a group of people having common interests or characteristics specifically : the group at which a particular activity or enterprise aims

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Other Words from public

Adjective

publicness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for public

Synonyms: Adjective

open

Synonyms: Noun

folks, humanity, humankind, people, species, world

Antonyms: Adjective

confidential, private, privy, secret

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Examples of public in a Sentence

Adjective

Public outrage over the scandal eventually forced him to resign. The ads are intended to increase public awareness of the risks of smoking. She was elected to a public office. He was in Congress for many years but he recently retired from public life. They decided on a nearby restaurant as a convenient public place to meet. The government has allowed public access to the documents. The city council is holding a public meeting. This will be her first public performance in five years. Her trial will be public.

Noun

The beach is open to the public. The general public is in favor of the law. Members of the public called for the mayor's resignation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Investors like Neuberger went public with their demands 60 times this year and in 79 instances in 2017, according to data tracked by Activist Insight Online. Justin Baer And Dawn Lim, WSJ, "Mutual Fund Managers Try a New Role: Activist Investor," 30 Dec. 2018 The pair stepped out in public together in December, when the real estate tycoon, 34, and royal, 30, reportedly attended the Berggruen Prize Gala in New York City as a couple. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Princess Beatrice’s New Boyfriend, Edoardo Mozzi?," 29 Dec. 2018 Wrestling with his demons The demons are not easy to wrestle for this young man, who was born in 1991, the very year the World Wide Web went public. Martha Irvine, The Seattle Times, "He’s a ‘tech addict’ who works in Seattle area’s tech industry," 26 Dec. 2018 Plans in the early 2000s to develop it into a luxury hotel stalled, and a local campaign to turn the historic site into a public museum never took off. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "You Can Buy This Stunning Tuscan Castle In Italy," 22 Dec. 2018 Employees can sometimes do that before the company goes public in private stock sales. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "The 2019 IPO class headlined by Uber will create a ton of new wealth. Will the billions go to mansions or missions?," 20 Dec. 2018 The result is elegant and modern—and provides an unmatched amount of public space. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places Our Travel Specialists Say You Should Go in 2019," 17 Dec. 2018 These are just the major health incidents that have gone public — and are good fodder for the recent documentary and forthcoming biopic. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s incredible ability to bounce back," 14 Dec. 2018 Many of these companies have gone public, including Invitation Homes, American Homes 4 Rent, and Front Yard Residential. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Single-family rental companies turn to Opendoor, Offerpad for new inventory," 3 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Specifically, Meghan is much more likely than her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, and grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, to wear dark colors in public. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "This 2015 Meghan Markle Interview Might Explain Why She Wears Darker Colors Than Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth," 12 Jan. 2019 Shayk has been seen wearing the sparkler in public, but not to all of her red carpet appearances. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk's Super-Private Relationship Through the Years," 9 Jan. 2019 There are so many television episodes when a new couple fights because one of them doesn't want to hold hands in public. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Why Do Couples Hold Hands?," 4 Jan. 2019 The main square, nine (yes, nine!) rooftop playgrounds, and three restaurants are always open to the public. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "The New LEGO House Is The Perfect Place To Spend Christmas," 18 Dec. 2018 The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden's Pumpkin Village is open to the public during the entirety of the Autumn at the Arboretum festival, which runs from Sept. 22 to Nov. 21 this year. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Dallas Arboretum Uses 100,000 Pumpkins to Build Its Annual Fall Village," 12 Oct. 2018 Bipolar disorder, for example, is one of the most misunderstood mental health diagnoses by the general public and one of the most common to be used as a buzzword. Molly Burford, Teen Vogue, "4 Ways You Might Accidentally Be Perpetuating Mental Health Stigma," 28 Dec. 2018 Eventually the problems extended to all of those centers, which serve 14 counties, spurring social-media posts to the public and work with vendors to bring the system back up. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "FCC Probes Nationwide CenturyLink Outage, Cites 911 Service Disruption," 28 Dec. 2018 So far, the public and federal workers have largely been spared inconvenience and hardship because government is closed on weekends and federal employees were excused from work on Christmas Eve and Christmas, a federal holiday. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Post-holiday, partial government shutdown to gain impact," 25 Dec. 2018

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

Adjective

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for public

Adjective

Middle English publique, from Anglo-French, from Latin publicus; akin to Latin populus people

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Statistics for public

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for public

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

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More Definitions for public

public

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of public

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or affecting all or most of the people of a country, state, etc.

: of, relating to, paid for by, or working for a government

: supported by money from the government and from private contributors rather than by commercials

public

noun

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

the public : the people of a country, state, etc.

: a group of people who have a shared interest, quality, etc.

public

adjective
pub·​lic | \ ˈpə-blik \

Kids Definition of public

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : open to all a public library
2 : of or relating to the people as a whole public opinion
3 : known to many people : not kept secret The story became public.
4 : of, relating to, or working for a government or community a public prosecutor My uncle holds public office.
5 : well-known, prominent public figures

Other Words from public

publicly adverb

public

noun

Kids Definition of public (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the people as a whole The sale is open to the public.
2 : a group of people having common interests The author is adored by her public.

public

adjective
pub·​lic

Legal Definition of public

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : exposed to general view public indecency
b : known or recognized by many or most people
2a : of, relating to, or affecting all of the people or the whole area of a nation or state public statutes
b : of or relating to a government : authorized by, administered by, or acting for the people as a political entity public expenditures the public prosecutor
c : of, relating to, or being in the service of the community or nation holding public office
d : provided for, used by, or containing the records of a government agency the post office and other public buildings
3 : of or relating to people in general
4 : of or relating to business or community interests as opposed to private affairs public policy
5 : devoted to the general or national welfare
6 : accessible to or shared by all members of the community a public hearing — compare private
7 : capitalized in shares that can be freely traded on the open market often used with go

Other Words from public

publicly adverb

public

noun

Legal Definition of public (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a place accessible or visible to the public usually used in the phrase in public
2 : the people as a whole

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Comments on public

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