- 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.
Origin of public enemy
First recorded in 1750–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Words for public enemycriminal, felon, gangster, lawbreaker, malevolent, outlaw, racketeer, villain, perpetrator, scofflaw
- 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