• synonyms


  1. any of various deciduous or evergreen shrubs of the genus Ligustrum, especially L. vulgare, having clusters of small white flowers and commonly grown as a hedge.
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Origin of privet

First recorded in 1535–45; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for privet

Historical Examples

  • And then the old tavern came into sight behind its new hedge of privet.


    Robert W. Chambers

  • Sometimes these elevations are crowned with privet or some light hedge-plant.

  • What's your notion of a California privet hedge and entertaining the same?

  • Used a great deal for hedges before the days of the California privet.

    Carpentry and Woodwork

    Edwin W. Foster

  • It comes freely to sugar, and has been taken at privet blossom.

British Dictionary definitions for privet


    1. any oleaceous shrub of the genus Ligustrum, esp L. vulgare or L. ovalifolium, having oval dark green leaves, white flowers, and purplish-black berries
    2. (as modifier)a privet hedge
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Word Origin

C16: of unknown origin
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 privet


type of evergreen shrub, 1540s, of unknown origin. Early forms primet, primprint perhaps suggest some connection with prime [Klein].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper