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Definition of “private” - English Dictionary

"private" in American English

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privateadjective

 us   /ˈprɑɪ·vɪt/
  • private adjective (PERSONAL)

for the use of or ​belonging to one ​particularperson or ​group only, or not ​shared or ​available to other ​people: The ​sign on the ​gate said "Private Property – Keep Out." Let’s go ​somewhere private so we can ​talkfreely.
in private
If you do something in private, you do it without other ​peoplepresent: I ​asked if I could ​talk to her in private.
  • private adjective (INDEPENDENT)

[not gradable] belonging to or ​managed by a ​person or ​independentcompanyrather than the ​government: The ​governorvisited Ireland as a private ​citizen (= not as an ​official).

privatenoun [C]

 us   /ˈprɑɪ·vɪt/
  • private noun [C] (RANK)

a ​person in the ​military of the ​lowestrank, below a ​corporal
(Definition of private from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)







"private" in British English

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privateadjective

uk   /ˈpraɪ.vət/  us   /ˈpraɪ.vət/
  • private adjective (PERSONAL)

B1 only for one ​person or ​group and not for everyone: She has a ​smalloffice that is used for private ​discussions. I ​caught him ​looking through my private ​papers. The ​sign on the ​gate said "Private Property - No Trespassing!"
Private ​activitiesinvolvepersonalmatters or ​relationships and are not ​related to ​yourwork: Apparently in ​interviews he ​refuses to ​talk about his private life.
B1 Private ​thoughts and ​opinions are ​secret and not ​discussed with other ​people: Although I ​support the ​project in ​public, my private ​opinion is that it will ​fail. This is a private ​matter.
A private ​place is ​quiet and has no other ​people to ​see or ​hear you: Is there ​somewhere private where we can ​talk?
A private ​person does not like to ​talk about ​theirpersonalfeelings and ​thoughts: She's a very private ​person.
in private
B2 If you ​talk to someone or do something in private, you do it without other ​people being ​present: Jamie ​wants to ​speak to me in private.
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  • private adjective (NOT OFFICIAL)

B2 controlled or ​paid for by a ​person or ​company and not by the ​government: private ​education/​healthcare a private ​doctor/​dentist Banks should be ​supportingsmall private ​businesses.

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privatenoun [C]

uk   /ˈpraɪ.vət/  us   /ˈpraɪ.vət/
(Definition of private from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"private" in Business English

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privateadjective

uk   us   /ˈpraɪvɪt/
used to describe a ​company with ​shares that are not ​traded on a ​stockmarket: EM.TV is a private family-owned ​company.
ECONOMICS owned or ​controlled by one ​person or ​company, rather than by a ​government: Much of the ​funding for this ​type of ​investment comes from ​public, rather than private, ​sources. We need to ​reviewpublic and private ​interests in ​order to ​balance them carefully. The ​center has about 85 ​employeessupported by private ​money from ​grants and ​donations. private ​healthinsurance private ​agencies/​institutions/hospitals
ECONOMICS private ​employees, ​investors, etc. ​act for themselves, rather than for a ​government or ​company: private ​buyers/​investors a private ​contractor/​developer
COMMERCE, FINANCE only ​offered to particular ​people or ​organizations to ​buy and not ​offered to the ​public: The ​property was ​sold by private ​treaty. a private ​sale
intended only for the use of one ​person or ​group of ​people: a private jet a private ​club
MEETINGS involving only a ​smallgroup of ​people and ​keptsecret: Seniorgroupexecutives are ​reported to be in private ​talksregarding a possible ​merger. a private ​agreement/​conversation
connected with your ​personallife, rather than your ​job: Employees are ​asked to ​keep private ​emails/​phonecalls to a ​minimum.
go private
FINANCE, STOCK MARKET if a ​company whose ​shares are ​traded on a ​stockmarket goes private, the ​ownersbuy the ​shares back from other ​shareholders in ​order to take ​control of the ​company themselves: The Canadian ​utilitycompany is well on its way to going private through a $22 ​billion management-led ​buyout.
ECONOMICS, GOVERNMENT if an ​organization that is ​owned by the ​government goes private, it is ​sold to ​investors: The ​satellitecompany was ​bought by its ​currentowners for $3.1 ​billion in ​cash after going private and ​shedding its intergovernmental ​ownership.
UK to ​pay for your own ​medicaltreatment, rather than using ​treatmentprovided by the National Health Service: People who cannot ​find an NHS dentist are already going private and ​insurers are ​keen to ​fill in ​gaps in their ​finances.
in private
MEETINGS something that is done in private is done secretly and only involves a ​smallgroup of ​people: Negotiations are underway in private.
in private hands
ECONOMICS, GOVERNMENT owned or ​controlled by one ​person or ​company, rather than by a ​government: The ​transaction would put ​control of a ​keyservice in private ​hands.
owned by one ​person, rather than by an ​organization: Two ​originalcopies of the manuscript are still in private ​hands.
take sth private
FINANCE, STOCK MARKET to take ​control of a ​company or ​organization whose ​shares are ​traded on a ​stockmarket by ​buying the ​shares back from other ​shareholders: Two of the world's ​richest men ​combined to take the ​upmarkethotelchain private in a $1.95bn ​deal.
(Definition of private from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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