American English

Definition of public adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    of ordinary people
  1. 1[only before noun] connected with ordinary people in society in general The campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the issues. Levels of waste from the factory may be a danger to public health. Why would the closure of hospitals be in the public interest (= useful to ordinary people)? The government had to bow to public pressure.
  2. for everyone
  3. 2[only before noun] provided, especially by the government, for the use of people in general a public education system a public library opposite private see also public school
  4. of government
  5. 3[only before noun] connected with the government and the services it provides public money/spending/funding/expenditure He spent much of his career in public office (= working in the government). The rail industry is no longer in public ownership (= controlled by the government). opposite private
  6. seen/heard by people
  7. 4known to people in general a public figure (= a person who is well known because they are often on the television, radio, etc.) Details of the government report have not yet been made public. She entered public life (= started a job in which she became known to the public) at the age of 25. This latest scandal will not have done their public image (= the opinion that people have of them) any good.
  8. 5open to people in general; intended to be seen or heard by people in general a public apology The painting will be put on public display next week. This may be the band's last public appearance together.
  9. place
  10. 6where there are a lot of people who can see and hear you Let's go somewhere a little less public. opposite private
  11. NAmE//ˈpʌblɪkli//
    adverb a publicly owned company He later publicly apologized for his comments. This information is not publicly available.
  12. Idioms
    be common/public knowledge
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    to be something that everyone knows, especially in a particular community or group Their relationship is common knowledge.
    1. 1to tell people about something that is a secret A court order failed to stop her from going public with the story.
    2. 2(of a company) to start selling shares on the stock exchange
    in the public eye
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    well known to many people through newspapers and television She doesn't want her children growing up in the public eye.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: public