- participating in the knowledge of something private or secret (usually followed by to): Many persons were privy to the plot.
- private; assigned to private uses.
- belonging or pertaining to some particular person, especially with reference to a sovereign.
- secret, concealed, hidden, or secluded.
- acting or done in secret.
- outhouse(def 1).
- Law. a person participating directly in or having a derivative interest in a legal transaction.
Origin of privy
Examples from the Web for privies
Danger, from drainage of barns and barnyards, 137;from leachings from privies and cesspools, 138.Rural Hygiene
Henry N. Ogden
Stables and privies must be at least a hundred feet from water reservoirs.Civics and Health
William H. Allen
For non-compliance with notice for the construction of drains, privies, &c., 10s.Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II
Great attention is to be paid to the cleanliness of the privies.Bygones Worth Remembering, Vol. 1 (of 2)
George Jacob Holyoake
Under these circumstances thorough disinfection of the privies checked the spread of the disease.
- (postpositive foll by to) participating in the knowledge of something secret
- archaic secret, hidden, etc
- archaic of or relating to one person only
- a lavatory, esp an outside one
- law a person in privity with anotherSee privity (def. 1)
Word Origin and History for privies
"private," early 13c., from Old French privé "friendly, intimate; a private place," from Latin privatus "private, personal" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "participating in (a secret)" (usually with to) is attested from late 14c. Related: Privily. Privy Council is from c.1300 in a general sense; specifically of the British government, first attested late 14c., as consaile priue. Privy member "organ of sex" is from late 13c.
"toilet," c.1200, from Old French privé, privee "latrine," literally "private place," from noun use of adjective privé (see privy (adj.)).