a. Secluded from the sight, presence, or intrusion of others: a private hideaway.
b. Designed or intended for one's exclusive use: a private room.
a. Of or confined to the individual; personal: a private joke; private opinions.
b. Undertaken on an individual basis: private studies; private research.
c. Of, relating to, or receiving special hospital services and privileges: a private patient.
3. Not available for public use, control, or participation: a private club; a private party.
a. Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government: private property.
b. Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources: private funding.
c. Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations: a private college; a private sanatorium.
d. Enrolled in or attending a private school: a private student.
5. Capitalized in shares of stock that are held by a relatively small number of owners and are not traded on the open market: a private company; a company that went private; took a company private.
6. Not holding an official or public position: a private citizen.
a. Not for public knowledge or disclosure; secret: private papers; a private communication.
b. Not appropriate for use or display in public; intimate: private behavior; a private tragedy.
c. Placing a high value on personal privacy: a private person.
a. A noncommissioned rank in the US Army or Marine Corps that is below private first class.
b. One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
2. privates Private parts. Often used with the.
To take a publicly owned company into private ownership, as by a leveraged buyout.
Not in public; secretly or confidentially.
[Middle English privat, from Latin prīvātus, not in public life, past participle of prīvāre, to release, deprive, from prīvus, single, alone; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.