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  1. lack of the usual comforts or necessaries of life: His life of privation began to affect his health.
  2. an instance of this.
  3. the act of depriving.
  4. the state of being deprived.
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Origin of privation

1350–1400; Middle English (< Middle French privacion) < Latin prīvātiōn- (stem of prīvātiō) a taking away. See private, -ion

Synonyms for privation

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for privation

hardship, necessity, destitution, lack, indigence, neediness, poverty, want, need, disadvantage

Examples from the Web for privation

Contemporary Examples of privation

Historical Examples of privation

  • We went on a short allowance; and suffered a good deal by the privation.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • They must, therefore, be protected from any privation whatever, independently of anything that I may do.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • How pitiable are their physical conditions, their privation and distress of body!

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • It was not the dread of failure and privation which troubled him.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • To this privation submarine warfare has contributed materially.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

British Dictionary definitions for privation


  1. loss or lack of the necessities of life, such as food and shelter
  2. hardship resulting from this
  3. the state of being deprived
  4. logic obsolete the absence from an object of what ordinarily or naturally belongs to such objects
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Word Origin for privation

C14: from Latin prīvātiō deprivation
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 privation


mid-14c., "action of depriving," from Old French privacion and directly from Latin privationem (nominative privatio) "a taking away," noun of action from past participle stem of privare "deprive" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "want of life's comforts or of some necessity" is attested from 1790.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper