- belonging to some particular person: private property.
- pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; individual; personal: for your private satisfaction.
- confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential: a private meeting.
- personal and not publicly expressed: one's private feelings.
- not holding public office or employment: private citizens.
- not of an official or public character; unrelated to one's official job or position: a former senator who has returned to private life; a college president speaking in his private capacity as a legal expert.
- removed from or out of public view or knowledge; secret: private papers.
- not open or accessible to the general public: a private beach.
- undertaken individually or personally: private research.
- without the presence of others; alone: Let's go into another room where we can be private.
- solitary; secluded: He wants to meet us in a more private place.
- preferring privacy; retiring: a very private person.
- intimate; most personal: private behavior.
- of, having, or receiving special hospital facilities, privileges, and services, especially a room of one's own and liberal visiting hours: a private room; a private patient.
- of lowest military rank.
- of, relating to, or coming from nongovernmental sources: private funding.
- a soldier of one of the three lowest enlisted ranks.
- privates. private parts.
- in private, not publicly; secretly: The hearing will be conducted in private.
Origin of private
SynonymsSee more synonyms for private on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for private
ROME — What does it take for a Hollywood A-lister to get a private audience with Pope Francis?Pope Francis Has the Pleasure of Meeting Angelina Jolie for a Few Seconds
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 8, 2015
The family was taking some private moments for a closing of the coffin in keeping with Chinese ritual.Funeral Protest Is Too Much for NYPD Union Boss
January 5, 2015
But while his public profile receded, his private life blossomed.Ed Brooke: The Senate's Civil Rights Pioneer and Prophet of a Post-Racial America
January 4, 2015
My nickname was Captain, though I was a private, first class.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
The role of private investigators has stirred controversy in the investigation.U.S. Spies Say They Tracked ‘Sony Hackers’ For Years
January 2, 2015
The morning after his arrival, Artaphernes had a private audience with his royal master.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
In the private car the little party was beginning its own journey Eastward.
Mr. Davis, may I ask the favor of a few minutes' conversation with you in private?Brave and Bold
Fouts, with a slip of paper in his hand, beckoned him from the door of his private office.
And noo, Captain Smith, let me say a word in your private ear.
- not widely or publicly knownthey had private reasons for the decision
- confidential; secreta private conversation
- not for general or public usea private bathroom
- (prenominal) individual; specialmy own private recipe
- (prenominal) having no public office, rank, etca private man
- (prenominal) denoting a soldier of the lowest military ranka private soldier
- of, relating to, or provided by a private individual or organization, rather than by the state or a public bodythe private sector; private housing
- (of a place) retired; sequestered; not overlooked
- (of a person) reserved; uncommunicative
- in private in secret; confidentially
- a soldier of the lowest rank, sometimes separated into qualification grades, in many armies and marine corpsprivate first class
Word Origin and History for private
late 14c., "pertaining or belonging to oneself, not shared, individual; not open to the public;" of a religious rule, "not shared by Christians generally, distinctive; from Latin privatus "set apart, belonging to oneself (not to the state), peculiar, personal," used in contrast to publicus, communis; past participle of privare "to separate, deprive," from privus "one's own, individual," from PIE *prei-wo-, from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).
Old English in this sense had syndrig. Private grew popular 17c. as an alternative to common (adj.), which had overtones of condescention. Of persons, "not holding public office," recorded from early 15c. In private "privily" is from 1580s. Related: Privately. Private school is from 1650s. Private parts "the pudenda" is from 1785. Private enterprise first recorded 1797; private property by 1680s; private sector is from 1948. Private eye "private detective" is recorded from 1938, American English.
1590s, "private citizen," short for private person "individual not involved in government" (early 15c.), or from Latin privatus "man in private life," noun use of the adjective; 1781 in the military sense, short for Private soldier "one below the rank of a non-commissioned officer" (1570s), from private (adj.).
Idioms and Phrases with private
In addition to the idiom beginning with private
- private eye
- free (private) enterprise
- in private