public

adjective
pub·lic | \ ˈpə-blik \

Definition of public 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : exposed to general view : open

b : well-known, prominent

c : perceptible, material

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 : general, popular

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

commoners, commons, crowd, herd, hoi polloi, mass, millions, mob, multitude, people, plebeians, plebs, populace, rank and file

Antonyms: Adjective

confidential, private, privy, secret

Antonyms: Noun

A-list, aristocracy, best, choice, cream, elect, elite, fat, flower, pick, pride, upper crust

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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

The Falwell case ended with a landmark decision supporting the right to publish parodies of public figures. Cincinnati Enquirer, "Read more from this Project," 13 July 2018 Neither is the state attorney's office, saying it hasn't been made public yet in the discovery process. CBS News, "Sporting goods store chain fires manager NRA calls "hero"," 12 July 2018 The plan to appeal was made public late in the afternoon; shares in AT&T fell 1.3 percent in after-hours trading. New York Times, "AT&T-Time Warner Deal Approval Gets Justice Department Challenge," 12 July 2018 Ever since it was left behind in 1991 when the Soviets evacuated, as the Latvians were taking back their independence, politicians have wrestled with the question of whether the list should be made public. Gordon F. Sander, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why a nearly 30-year-old list of names is roiling modern Latvia," 12 July 2018 But those are only the deaths that were made public through news reports or social media. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "Teen suicide doesn’t end with the school year. Now JoCo schools offer summertime therapy," 12 July 2018 Dee, 89, has been the more public figure, given his athletic profile. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: The Bond Of Dee And Ginny Rowe Was The Bond For Countless Communities, A UConn Family," 12 July 2018 But a backlash erupted the following month when the school board – with virtually no advance warning – voted to rename the high school Abington Schwarzman High School, one of several details of an initial agreement that had not been made public. Kathy Boccella, Philly.com, "Abington superintendent to retire after Stephen Schwarzman donation debacle," 9 July 2018 The documents sat unnoticed until now, amid some confusion around making them public. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Jackie Kennedy’s Never-Before-Seen Packing List Reveals Heartbreaking Details of Her Final Trip with JFK," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But as Swaminathan noted, name recognition could backfire with any kind of public slip misstep or scandal. Rachel Siegel, chicagotribune.com, "Kylie Jenner is on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire. Ever.," 14 July 2018 Democracy functions when competing partisan factions are allowed to make their best case, and the public can decide the results. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Washington Post worries Strzok hearings were bad for democracy.," 13 July 2018 The public is primed to expect autonomous vehicles to be perfect. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 2018 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the public against eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal due to an outbreak of salmonella. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Kellogg's Honey Smacks Cereal Linked to 100 Salmonella Infections, CDC Warns," 13 July 2018 The first of 14 practices open to the public takes place on July 26 at the Dolphins training facility at Nova Southeastern University. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "What would Miami Dolphins-themed soccer kits look like? Here’s a look," 13 July 2018 At the exhibit’s opening, the artists, scientists and the public all mingled. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Scientific Images Make Dazzling Art In a Duke University Exhibit," 12 July 2018 Even Michael Dell, who took his computer firm private in 2013 and grumbles about the myopia of stockmarkets, is taking his firm public again, through a merger. The Economist, "Life as you know it is IPOver," 12 July 2018 One question is how the public will take to a less-flamboyant Lang Lang. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "Lang Lang's recovery: Will he ever play in Philly again?," 12 July 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

13 Sep 2018

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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