- adj. & n.
1 belonging to an individual; one's own; personal (private property).
2 confidential; not to be disclosed to others (private talks).
3 kept or removed from public knowledge or observation.
4 a not open to the public. b for an individual's exclusive use (private room).
5 (of a place) secluded; affording privacy.
6 (of a person) not holding public office or an official position.
7 (of education or medical treatment) conducted outside the State system, at the individual's expense.
1 a private soldier.
2 (in pl.) colloq. the genitals.
Phrases and idioms:
in private privately; in private company or life. private bill a parliamentary bill affecting an individual or corporation only. private company Brit. a company with restricted membership and no issue of shares. private detective a detective engaged privately, outside an official police force. private enterprise
1 a business or businesses not under State control.
2 individual initiative. private eye colloq. a private detective. private first class US a soldier ranking above an ordinary private but below officers. private hotel a hotel not obliged to take all comers. private house the dwelling-house of a private person, as distinct from a shop, office, or public building. private law a law relating to individual persons and private property. private life life as a private person, not as an official, public performer, etc. private means income from investments etc., apart from earned income. private member a member of a legislative body not holding a government office. private member's bill a bill introduced by a private member, not part of government legislation. private parts the genitals. private patient Brit. a patient treated by a doctor other than under the National Health Service. private practice Brit. medical practice that is not part of the National Health Service. private press a printing establishment operated by a private person or group not primarily for profit and usu. on a small scale.
1 Brit. a school supported wholly by the payment of fees.
2 US a school not supported mainly by the State. private secretary a secretary dealing with the personal and confidential concerns of a businessman or businesswoman. private sector the part of the economy free of direct State control. private soldier an ordinary soldier other than the officers (and US other than recruits). private view the viewing of an exhibition (esp. of paintings) before it is open to the public.
1 a feud between persons or families disregarding the law of murder etc.
2 hostilities against members of another State without the sanction of one's own government. private wrong an offence against an individual but not against society as a whole.
Etymology: ME f. L privatus, orig. past part. of privare deprive
Useful english dictionary. 2012.