[ priv-uh-lij, priv-lij ]
See synonyms for: privilegeprivilegedprivilegesprivileging on

    • a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a particular person or a restricted group of people beyond the advantages of most: Few people have access to the privileges of the very rich.

    • the unearned and mostly unacknowledged societal advantage that a restricted group of people has over another group: white privilege based on skin color;male privilege;children of privilege.

  1. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: It's a privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.

  1. a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.

  2. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.

  3. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.

  4. an advantage or source of pleasure granted to a person: It's my privilege to be here.

  5. Stock Exchange. an option to buy or sell stock at a stipulated price for a limited period of time, including puts, calls, spreads, and straddles.

verb (used with object),priv·i·leged, priv·i·leg·ing.
  1. to grant a privilege to.

  2. to exempt (usually followed by from).

  1. to authorize or license (something otherwise forbidden).

Origin of privilege

First recorded in 1125–75; (noun) Middle English; earlier privilegie, from Old French privilege, from Latin prīvilēgium originally, “a law (for or against an individual),” equivalent to prīvi- (combining form of prīvus “one's own, private”) + lēg- (see legal) + -ium -ium; (verb) Middle English privilegen, from Middle French privilegier, from Medieval Latin prīvilēgiāre, derivative of prīvilēgium

synonym study For privilege

1. Privilege, prerogative refer to a special advantage or right possessed by an individual or group. A privilege is a right or advantage gained by birth, social position, effort, or concession. It can have either legal or personal sanction: the privilege of paying half fare; the privilege of calling whenever one wishes. Prerogative refers to an exclusive right claimed and granted, often officially or legally, on the basis of social status, heritage, gender, etc.: the prerogatives of a king; the prerogatives of management.

Other words for privilege

Other words from privilege

  • priv·i·leg·er, noun
  • pro·priv·i·lege, adjective

Words Nearby privilege Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use privilege in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for privilege


/ (ˈprɪvɪlɪdʒ) /

  1. a benefit, immunity, etc, granted under certain conditions

  2. the advantages and immunities enjoyed by a small usually powerful group or class, esp to the disadvantage of others: one of the obstacles to social harmony is privilege

  1. any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of a country by its constitution

    • the right of a lawyer to refuse to divulge information obtained in confidence from a client

    • the right claimed by any of certain other functionaries to refuse to divulge information: executive privilege

  2. the rights and immunities enjoyed by members of most legislative bodies, such as freedom of speech, freedom from arrest in civil cases during a session, etc

  3. US stock exchange a speculative contract permitting its purchaser to make optional purchases or sales of securities at a specified time over a limited period of time: See also call (def. 61), put (def. 20), spread (def. 24c), straddle (def. 9)

  1. to bestow a privilege or privileges upon

  2. (foll by from) to free or exempt

Origin of privilege

C12: from Old French privilēge, from Latin prīvilēgium law relevant to rights of an individual, from prīvus an individual + lēx law

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