[ prahy-vit ]
/ ˈpraɪ vɪt /



a soldier of one of the three lowest enlisted ranks.
privates. private parts.

Nearby words

  1. priv.,
  2. priv. pr.,
  3. privacy,
  4. privacy, right of,
  5. privatdocent,
  6. private bar,
  7. private bill,
  8. private brand,
  9. private company,
  10. private detective


    in private, not publicly; secretly: The hearing will be conducted in private.

Origin of private

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin prīvātus private, literally, taken away (from public affairs), special use of past participle of prīvāre to rob. See deprive, -ate1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for private

British Dictionary definitions for private


/ (ˈpraɪvɪt) /



a soldier of the lowest rank, sometimes separated into qualification grades, in many armies and marine corpsprivate first class
Derived Formsprivately, adverb

Word Origin for private

C14: from Latin prīvātus belonging to one individual, withdrawn from public life, from prīvāre to deprive, bereave

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

Word Origin and History for private
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with private


In addition to the idiom beginning with private

  • private eye

also see:

  • free (private) enterprise
  • in private
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.