public

adjective
pub·​lic | \ ˈpə-blik How to pronounce public (audio) \

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
b : of, by, for, or directed to the public (see public entry 2 sense 2) : popular in the public eye a campaign to raise public awareness of the issue He's certainly aware that public opinion has soured on him this year …— Bryan Rolli
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
plural publics

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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Putting on hold a monthslong controversy, the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend plans to rename a third of its public schools. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Counting down to reopening," 10 Apr. 2021 Weekly reports of coronavirus cases among students in Massachusetts public schools, collaboratives, and special education programs have risen steadily in recent weeks, hitting a record-high for the week that ended Wednesday. BostonGlobe.com, "Coronavirus cases are rising among children and teens in Mass. Here’s a closer look at the numbers," 9 Apr. 2021 The vocal demonstrations of a group opposed to LGBTQ rights in Brevard County public schools took their protestations to the home of one of the county school board members. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "Anti-LGBT protesters demonstrate at Central Florida school board member’s home: report," 9 Apr. 2021 After four years, the gap in enrolment of low income students between charter schools and traditional public schools had shrunk to practically zero. Nick Morrison, Forbes, "Want To Stop Charter Schools Cherry-Picking The ‘Best’ Students? Use The Carrot Not The Stick.," 9 Apr. 2021 Most students who attend Palm Beach County public schools are likely to return to in-person learning in August, Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy announced Friday. Brooke Baitinger, sun-sentinel.com, "Palm Beach County School District doesn’t plan to offer remote learning in fall," 9 Apr. 2021 Those laws required free Black residents to register with county officials, forbade them from testifying in court cases involving whites, barred Black children from public schools, and reserved the vote for white men only. Kate Masur, Star Tribune, "Lessons for today social movements, from the struggle that began before the Civil War," 9 Apr. 2021 Three public schools in Indianapolis: Manual, Arsenal Tech and Shortridge, were integrated in the early 1900s. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Ray Crowe: Trailblazer, hero, icon, to be honored with elementary school in Whiteland," 8 Apr. 2021 Charter schools are public schools run independently of districts. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge certifies class-action lawsuit challenging CA school funding," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This time, however, those efforts are resulting in significant pushbacks from the public and conservatives. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "New: Group to fight Democrat-CEO ‘wokism,' 'anti-Americanism’," 13 Apr. 2021 But, incredibly, the American public readily accepted the medical establishment’s explanation for the failure, and its pledges to right the situation. Howard Markel, The New Yorker, "The Last Time a Vaccine Saved America," 12 Apr. 2021 With hyperfocus on the border and political debate over immigration, the public — and many politicians — tend to overlook the other aspects of Homeland Security’s mission. Los Angeles Times, "Biden begins to fill out hollowed Homeland Security department — but no ICE pick," 12 Apr. 2021 The city also agreed to build the firm a parking structure that would be used by the public and Sick employees. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, "German sensor maker plans June construction launch for $100 million Bloomington campus," 12 Apr. 2021 Philip was known for having a no-nonsense attitude, both in public and behind closed doors. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince Philip Was the Queen's “Strength and Stay”," 9 Apr. 2021 That’s the nuance vaccine experts — frustrated by the recent barrage of negative headlines — want the American public to understand. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates U.S. cases involving Brazil variant on the rise, according to CDC data," 9 Apr. 2021 The public and media attention generated is much broader; the expectation of corporate response is more accepted; and the risks of repercussion are far more significant. Michael Peregrine, Forbes, "Corporate Leadership Faces Ever Evolving Social Justice Concerns," 6 Apr. 2021 Much of the American public viewed this hesitancy as a relic of a bygone, unenlightened age. Jordan E. Taylor, Time, "The U.S. Has Had 'Vaccine Passports' Before—And They Worked," 5 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for public

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for public

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Public.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/public. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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

public

adjective
pub·​lic | \ ˈpə-blik How to pronounce public (audio) \

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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