a person or thing considered a danger or menace to the public, especially a wanted criminal widely sought by the F.B.I. and local police forces.
a nation or government with which one's own is at war.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use public enemy in a sentence
In his usual dark suit and striped tie, speaking comfortably from notes, the president branded Americans’ rising tide of drug abuse “public enemy number one.”The War on Drugs turns 50 today. It’s time to make peace. | David Farber | June 17, 2021 | Washington Post
In other words, you can be a public enemy for bad conduct but it’s often the receipts that do you in.Matt Gaetz Gets Headlines for the Scandals. He Should Worry About the Receipts | Philip Elliott | April 2, 2021 | TIme
In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drugs to be “public enemy number one” and launched a “war on drugs” that continues today.Oregon Just Decriminalized All Drugs – Here’s Why Voters Passed This Groundbreaking Reform | LGBTQ-Editor | December 10, 2020 | No Straight News
Scott, who died Sunday at 49, could go from evoking a Baptist preacher to quoting public enemy.Remembering ESPN’s Sly, Cocky, and Cool Anchor Stuart Scott | Stereo Williams | January 4, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Independent Greg Orman is public enemy number one to Republicans today because he could upset their senate math toward a majority.Independent Greg Orman Stands Up Against GOP Attacks | John Avlon | November 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The Chicago Crime Commission declared him public enemy No. 1, declaring that he was a bigger menace than Al Capone had ever been.El Chapo on the Couch: Inside a Drug Lord's Therapy Sessions | Michael Daly | March 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
National initiatives on drug abuse began with Richard Nixon, when he declared drug abuse “public enemy Number One.”
As First Lady, Hillary Clinton singled them out as public enemy number one in her failed bid to legislate health care reform.
He insisted that Severus should be declared a public enemy by the senate.The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire | Edward Gibbon
Forest fires are now rightfully looked upon as a public enemy rather than a private menace.Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
They at once declared Napoleon a public enemy, and began preparations for launching enormous hosts against him.Battles of English History | H. B. (Hereford Brooke) George
Gaveston was captured in Scarborough Castle, and executed as a public enemy on 19th June, 1312.The New Gresham Encyclopedia | Various
So far as the necessities of war demand, a belligerent may make use of public enemy buildings for all kinds of purposes.International Law. A Treatise. Volume II (of 2) | Lassa Francis Oppenheim
British Dictionary definitions for public enemy
a notorious person, such as a criminal, who is regarded as a menace to the public
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