Definition of privacy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈprɪvəsi//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpraɪvəsi//
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  1. 1the state of being alone and not watched or disturbed by other people She was longing for some peace and privacy. I value my privacy. He read the letter later in the privacy of his own room.
  2. 2the state of being free from the attention of the public freedom of speech and the right to privacy She complained that the photographs were an invasion of her privacy.
  3. CultureprivacyThe British value their privacy (= having a part of their life that is not known to other people) and believe that everyone has a right to a private life. Many British people like to ‘keep themselves to themselves’ and do not discuss their private affairs. Things people like to keep private vary but may include personal relationships, family problems, how much they earn, their health, their political opinions, and sometimes what they do in their free time. It is considered rude to ask somebody about their private life, even if you know them well.In the US the Constitution protects people's right to privacy. A police officer has no power to stop people and ask them what they are doing unless they have committed a crime. Information about people can be shown to others only under special circumstances, and usually only with their permission. When newspapers print details about the family life of a politician or film actor they are often criticized for invasion of privacy. On the other hand, actors and politicians tell the press about their family life for publicity reasons, and ordinary Americans appear on television talk shows where they discuss their bad marriages, health problems and how they cannot control their children. The apparent contradiction in attitudes may be explained by the fact that Americans believe strongly in the right to privacy, but as long as that right is respected, they are happy to give it up. They believe it is better to be open and honest than to have secrets. The British may be less willing than Americans to talk about their own lives but they have an equally strong desire to know about the private lives of famous people. There is a constant argument, for instance, about the extent to which the media should be allowed to report the private lives of members of the royal family or of celebrities and other public figures. In recent years, the press has been strongly criticized for phone-hacking (= secretly listening to people's phone conversations).Americans don't tell the world everything about their lives. Money and sex are rarely discussed. Husbands and wives usually know how much each other earns, but other family members do not. People may say how much they paid for something, especially if the price was low, but asking somebody else how much they paid is acceptable only for small things, not a house or a car. In general people are happier offering information than being asked for it.Being given advice can also disturb an American's sense of privacy because it seems to suggest that somebody else can solve your problem better than you can yourself. When offering advice, people use indirect language, and instead of saying, ‘You should do this,’ they may say, ‘I tried doing this, and it worked for me’.Extra examples I hope I’m not intruding on your privacy. I want to be left in privacy. I was able to say goodbye to him in relative privacy. She longed to be in the privacy of her own room. These phone calls are a gross invasion of privacy. We need to have access to health records while protecting patient privacy. privacy from prying eyes
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: privacy