American English

Definition of private adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    not public
  1. 1[usually before noun] belonging to or for the use of a particular person or group; not for public use The sign said, “Private property. Keep out.” Those are my father's private papers. The hotel has 110 bedrooms, all with private bathrooms. The villa has its own private beach.
  2. conversation/meeting
  3. 2intended for or involving a particular person or group of people, not for people in general or for others to know about a private conversation They were sharing a private joke. Senior defense officials held private talks.
  4. feelings/information
  5. 3that you do not want other people to know about synonym secret her private thoughts and feelings
  6. not owned/run by government
  7. 4[usually before noun] owned or managed by an individual person or independent company rather than by the government private industries/hospitals a program to return many of the state-owned companies to private ownership opposite public
  8. not work
  9. 5[usually before noun] not connected with your work or official position a politician's private life
  10. quiet
  11. 6where you are not likely to be disturbed; quiet Let's go somewhere a bit more private. opposite public
  12. person
  13. 7[usually before noun] not wanting to share thoughts and feelings with other people He's a very private person.
  14. classes
  15. 8[usually before noun] given by a teacher, etc. to one person or a small group of people for payment She gives private English classes on weekends.
  16. money
  17. 9that you receive from property or other sources but do not have to earn He has a private income.
    adverb Can we speak privately? In public he supported the official policy, but privately he was sure it would fail. a privately owned company Their children were educated privately. She smiled, but privately she was furious.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: private