Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[priv-ee] /ˈprɪv i/
adjective, privier, priviest.
participating in the knowledge of something private or secret (usually followed by to):
Many persons were privy to the plot.
private; assigned to private uses.
belonging or pertaining to some particular person, especially with reference to a sovereign.
secret, concealed, hidden, or secluded.
acting or done in secret.
noun, plural privies.
outhouse (def 1).
Law. a person participating directly in or having a derivative interest in a legal transaction.
Origin of privy
1175-1225; Middle English prive < Old French: private (adj.), close friend, private place (noun) < Latin prīvātus private Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for privy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After the privy Council outrage there was very little for Franklin to do.

    Benjamin Franklin Paul Elmer More
  • This question was referred to a committee of eight privy Councillors.

    Browning's England Helen Archibald Clarke
  • A reward for your apprehension was actually deliberated at the privy Council.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
  • Methinks the baker is just as good a man as the privy councillor.

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
  • Whereupon Clifton threatened to complain to the privy Council.

    Shakespearean Playhouses

    Joseph Quincy Adams
British Dictionary definitions for privy


adjective privier, priviest
(postpositive) foll by to. participating in the knowledge of something secret
(archaic) secret, hidden, etc
(archaic) of or relating to one person only
noun (pl) privies
a lavatory, esp an outside one
(law) a person in privity with another See privity (sense 1)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French privé something private, from Latin prīvātusprivate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for privy

"private," early 13c., from Old French privé "friendly, intimate; a private place," from Latin privatus "private, personal" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "participating in (a secret)" (usually with to) is attested from late 14c. Related: Privily. Privy Council is from c.1300 in a general sense; specifically of the British government, first attested late 14c., as consaile priue. Privy member "organ of sex" is from late 13c.


"toilet," c.1200, from Old French privé, privee "latrine," literally "private place," from noun use of adjective privé (see privy (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for privy



An outdoor toilet without plumbing; backhouse, Chic Sale (1662+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for privy

Word Value for privy

Scrabble Words With Friends