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

      

    public

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈpʌblɪk//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpʌblɪk//
     
    [singular + singular or plural verb]
     
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    ordinary people
  1. 1  the public ordinary people in society in general The palace is now open to the public. There have been many complaints from members of the public. The public has/have a right to know what is contained in the report. see also general public
  2. group of people
  3. 2a group of people who share a particular interest or who are involved in the same activity the theatre-going public She knows how to keep her public (= for example, the people who buy her books) satisfied.
  4. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin publicus, blend of poplicus ‘of the people’ (from populus ‘people’) and pubes ‘adult’.Extra examples He accused the administration of deliberately misleading the public on this issue. He rarely appears in public these days. Her work is now available to a wider public. Satellite television has provided the viewing public with a wide choice of programmes. The government was slow to inform the public about the health hazards of asbestos. The house is open to the public at weekends. She knows how to keep her public satisfied. The show drew 12% of the viewing public. the book-buying/​reading/​sporting/​theatre-going/​travelling/​viewing publicIdioms  when other people, especially people you do not know, are present She doesn't like to be seen in public without her make-up on. They never argue in public. compare in private
    wash your dirty linen in public
     
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    (British English, disapproving) to discuss your personal affairs in public, especially something embarrassing
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: public