Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: privatus, past participle of privare; DEPRIVE


1 adjective
pri‧vate1 S1 W1

not for the public

for use by one person or group, not for everyone [≠ public]:
Morris has a private jet.
He made some notes for his private use.
Many communists objected to any form of private property.

not government

[only before noun] not related to, owned by, or paid for by the government [≠ public]:
a private hospital
There is private ownership of property in a market economy.
private education
go private British English (=pay for medical treatment instead of getting it free at a public hospital)

for only a few

a private meeting, conversation etc involves only two people or a small number of people, and is not for other people to know about:
I need to have a private discussion with you.
Are you alone? I just wanted a private word.


private feelings, information, or opinions are personal or secret and not for other people to know about:
Jack's private opinion was that she was selfish.
Don't read that - it's private.

not publicly known

used about someone who is not known to the public or not working for the government or another organization:
a private citizen
The painting was sold to a private collector.
Seven police and three private individuals needed medical attention.

not work

separate from and not related to your work or your official position:
The president is paying a private visit to Europe.
He enjoys everything he does in both his professional and his private life.

quiet place

quiet and without a lot of people:
Why don't we go upstairs where it's more private?


[only before noun] a private person is one who likes being alone, and does not talk much about their thoughts or feelings:
He's a very private man.

private joke

a joke made between friends, family members etc that other people do not understand
[↪ privately]

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