- the state of being apart from other people or concealed from their view; solitude; seclusion: Please leave the room and give me some privacy.
- the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs; freedom to be let alone: Tourists must respect the tribe’s privacy. Those who wish to smoke can do so in the privacy of their own homes.See also invasion of privacy.
- freedom from damaging publicity, public scrutiny, secret surveillance, or unauthorized disclosure of one’s personal data or information, as by a government, corporation, or individual: Ordinary citizens have a qualified right to privacy. There is so much information about us online that personal privacy may be a thing of the past.
- the state of being concealed; secrecy: Before he told us of his plans, he insisted on total privacy.
- Usually privacies. Archaic. a personal matter that is concealed; a secret.
- Archaic. a private or secluded place.
Origin of privacy
Isolation and sequestration generally signify physical separation. In contrast to privacy and secrecy, which are usually sought by the individuals involved, isolation and sequestration are often imposed by others. For example, a vulnerable medical patient might be kept in isolation to protect him from acquiring an infection through contact with others, or a prisoner might be placed in isolation —that is, in solitary confinement—as punishment for an infraction. Sequestration can refer to things as well as to people, and is most often used to specify separation in technical or legal contexts: Carbon sequestration in the coal industry can potentially alleviate the problem of global warming; Sequestration of the jury she was serving on kept her away from her family for weeks; Until its leaders comply with international agreements, sequestration of that nation's overseas bank accounts will remain in effect.
One wants to keep one's secrets secret, and as well, keep many aspects of one's life private. But the ability of powerful corporations, government intelligence agencies, online stores, social media, or even individual thieves to reach and probe into our personal communications, buying habits, financial resources, circle of friends, and general lifestyle poses threats to one's privacy. Fortunately, for most people, reasonable precautions are usually enough to allow them to engage in normal activities without great worry.
Related Words for privacyseclusion, isolation, solitude, quiet, sequestration, aloofness, retirement, separation, separateness, concealment, retreat, confidentiality, penetralia
Examples from the Web for privacy
Contemporary Examples of privacy
Privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation say everyone should use it.
It almost makes you wonder if Lizard Squad did this just to annoy Anonymous and the other earnest champions of privacy.
Aside from reaching an international audience, leaving Oz had another benefit—no more silly intrusions into her privacy.CNN's Overnight Sydney Star
December 16, 2014
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Twitter seems to be the most upstanding in terms of privacy of its customers.Laura Poitras on Snowden's Unrevealed Secrets
December 1, 2014
Historical Examples of privacy
Mine is a life of privacy and retirement compared with that of other men.
Directly they had reached the privacy of the street they became quieter.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
It has a right to privacy as to its own doings and its own affairs as much as if it were its own father.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
Tears, of course, except in the privacy of one's closet, were not ethical on the Street.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Napoleon was silent a moment, as if protesting against this invasion of his privacy.The Boy Life of Napoleon
- the condition of being private or withdrawn; seclusion
- the condition of being secret; secrecy
- philosophy the condition of being necessarily restricted to a single person