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

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

Yet how fabulously civilised was the public response in the streets today. David Abrahams, Vogue, "A Very British Protest Unites London," 14 July 2018 After years of uneven progress, construction is now proceeding apace, and Egyptian officials say the building should be completed by the end of 2018, with a public opening sometime next year. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Sarcophagus Found. Contents Unknown. (‘No Guessing, Please.’)," 13 July 2018 Here was their objection: [A]s public support for Medicare-for-all rises, establishment think tanks and lobbyists are floating proposals designed to capitalize on its momentum while diluting its content. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Medicare for All Won’t Bring Medicare to All," 13 July 2018 The study was part of Baltimore’s smart cities initiative, an effort to improve life in Baltimore in areas including broadband availability, traffic, air quality, public safety and economic equality. Gal Tziperman Lotan, baltimoresun.com, "Free WiFi, public safety key to turning Baltimore into a 'smart city,' residents say," 12 July 2018 During her speech, Breed spoke of the city’s homelessness crisis and her commitment to public safety, police reform, education and protecting the environment. Niki Mcgloster, Essence.com, "The Quick Read: London Breed Officially Sworn In As San Francisco’s First Black Female Mayor," 12 July 2018 The 17-page document builds on agency research earlier this year focusing on suspects linked to violence in schools and other public places. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Secret Service urges U.S. schools to set up 'threat teams' to prevent shootings," 12 July 2018 Perhaps the most intriguing use of gait-recognition mats, though, would be in public places, such as airports. The Economist, "The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks," 12 July 2018 Under the new system, there will be 4,500 fewer local government radio users on the system, which should alleviate any surges the system faces, said Tracy Jackson, Broward County’s director of regional public safety and emergency services. Martin Vassolo, miamiherald, "Flawed 911 system ‘absolutely’ affected response to Parkland shooting," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His agency’s interactions with the public, and its own employees, seem to be returning to a posture more consistent with past Republican and Democratic administrations after Mr. Pruitt’s contentious and scandal-plagued tenure. Eric Lipton, New York Times, "‘You Can’t Lead Unless You Listen,’ New E.P.A. Chief Says, Signaling Break From Pruitt," 11 July 2018 Trump’s schedule will afford him little, if any, opportunity to interact with the public. Christina Boyle, latimes.com, "When Trump visits Britain, thousands of demonstrators plan to show him some resistance," 11 July 2018 King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who ascended to the throne in 2016, has engaged with the public more intensely during the caving crisis than at any time during his brief reign. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 By committing to buy electric or fuel-cell vehicles for their fleets, the participants hope to use their collective buying power and show automakers that there will be a market for such vehicles, which have been slow to catch on with the public. David R. Baker, SFChronicle.com, "California and New York City: We’ll buy more electric cars. How about you?," 10 July 2018 The couple later shared their happy news with the public on January 22, through a post on Twitter. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie to Wed Jack Brooksbank in October," 3 July 2018 Court-packing was unpopular with the public when proposed by Roosevelt, and there’s a reason that many constitutional scholars and political scientists continue to decry it to this day. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Court-packing, Democrats’ nuclear option for the Supreme Court, explained," 2 July 2018 The devices will be worn by officers who interact with the public. Jenna Carlesso, Courant Community, "Hartford Council Greenlights Purchase Of Body-Worn Cameras For Police," 29 June 2018 Last year, Patterson convinced a colleague to help him make high-resolution digital images of Berann’s paintings so they could be shared online with the public. Betsy Mason, National Geographic, "Gorgeous Panoramic Paintings of National Parks Now Online," 28 June 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

8 Nov 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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