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Restricted to one or few persons instead of available to the wider community. (contrast with public).


For lessons on the topic of Privacy, follow this link.

1. Of a religious rule: not shared by all Christians. Of an individual or a religious order: living according to distinct religious rules; set apart by distinct beliefs, religious practices, etc. Obs.

Applied by Wyclif to the mendicant orders (Franciscans, Augustines, Dominicans, and Carmelites). 1395 J. PURVEY Remonstrance against Romish Corruptions (Titus) in Eng. Hist. Rev. (1911) 26 747 Religiouse possessioneris..shulden ben apaied wi{th} scars liflode & clo{th}inge geten wi{th} here owne labour bi here privat rule [L. secundum eorum regulam], which {th}ei seyn {th}at seynt benet & seynt austin maden to suche religiouse men. a1425 WYCLIF Sel. Eng. Wks. (1869) I. 67 {Th}is asse and hir fole ben comen to {th}es pryvat ordris but not to alle Cristene men. c1475 (c1445) R. PECOCK Donet 79 Al priuate religiosite stondi{th} in keping of {th}re vowis..vowe of chastite, vowe of wilful pouerte..and vowe of obedience to here prelate.

2. a. Restricted to or for the use or enjoyment of one particular person or group of people; not open to the public. Now freq. on a sign or notice indicating this (see, e.g., quot. a1911).

a1398 J. TREVISA tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.) f. 332, {Th}e priuate wey longi{th} to ny{ygh}e towne and is schort and ny{ygh} and ofte ygrowe wi{th} gras. ?a1475 (?a1425) tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl.) (1865) I. 91 The seruauntes goe on commune festes and priuate [a1387 J. TREVISA tr. priue] offices. a1600 (1535) W. STEWART tr. H. Boece Bk. Cron. Scotl. (1858) II. 63 Quhair he wes bureit in ane prevat place. 1623 SHAKESPEARE & J. FLETCHER Henry VIII III. i. 28 May it please you Noble Madam, to withdraw Into your priuate Chamber. 1638 R. BRATHWAIT Bessie Bell i, in Barnabæ Itinerarium (new ed.) sig. Ee2, This place it is private. 1696 Earl of Galloway's Family Papers 6 Aug., Wee..did meet at a privat countrey ale house. 1759 JOHNSON Prince of Abissinia I. i. 2 According to the custom.., he [sc. Rasselas] was confined in a private palace. 1817 W. SELWYN Law Nisi Prius (ed. 4) II. 1242 A person having a private way over the land of another, cannot, when the way is become impassable by the overflowing of a river, justify going on the adjoining land. 1849 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. II. vi. 142 News which reached him through private channels. 1862 W. SANDBY Hist. Royal Acad. Arts II. 239 It had..been the custom to regard the anniversary dinner as one of a private nature{em}a gathering of the members of the Royal Academy and of the friends and patrons of art. a1911 D. G. PHILLIPS Susan Lenox (1917) II. xi. 285 The frosted glass door marked ‘Private’. 1992 Daily Star 16 Jan. 15/2 A drugs squad detective..has been suspended after claims that a cannabis joint was rolled at a private party.

b. Of or relating to a service provided on a paying basis, as opposed to through the State or another public body (sometimes with implication of benefit to an individual as distinct from a group).
(a) Of, relating to, or designating teaching or other educational facilities provided on an individual basis, or for which fees are charged.

Chiefly in compounds.

In British use, private schools were originally contrasted with public schools which, while also charging fees, were run as charitable institutions for the benefit of the public, while private schools were run for the personal profit of the proprietors; this distinction was subsequently lost. 1574 E. HAKE Touchestone Time Present sig. F3, Now tell me whether priuate schoole or publicke better is. 1574 E. HAKE Touchestone Time Present sig. Ov, But if the publique care Should happe to cease, then euery man at home must néedes prepare To haue a priuate teacher. 1581 R. MULCASTER Positions xl. 228 If the maister minde his boorders eitheer only or most, where his charge is ouer moe, where then is his dutie? if not, what gaine haue those boorders, by their maisters priuate? 1581 R. MULCASTER Positions xxxix. 183 (heading) Of priuate and publike education, with their generall goods & illes. 1670 D. LLOYD State Worthies (ed. 2) 402 When private Tutors had initiated, publick Schools had seasoned, and the University had improved this Gentlemans sprightly and noble parts. 1695 J. BELLERS Proposals Raising Colledge Industry 18 And I think such a Colledge-Education, under good Rules, beyond any Private one, having several Advantages the Private will want. 1756 M. CALDERWOOD Lett. & Jrnls. from England, Holland & Low Countries (1884) vi. 153 As for the boys of fashion,..if they are come from the country, they are boarded in what they call a pension, or have a private tutor to teach them. 1792 M. WOLLSTONECRAFT Vindic. Rights Woman xii. 361 The good effects resulting from attention to private education will ever be very confined, and the parent who really puts his own hand to the plow, will always, in some degree, be disappointed. 1848 G. MOBERLY Winchester Serm. II. Pref., What a public school? and wherein does it essentially differ from a private one? 1875 TROLLOPE Prime Minister (1876) I. i. 6 He had been at a good English private school. 1999 Financial Times 9 Oct. (FT 1,000 Schools Suppl.) 3/3 Several schools, including the five King Edward VI grammar schools in the West Midlands, have raised the prospect of ‘going private’ if local parents vote to abolish the 11-plus.

(b) Of, relating to, or designating medical treatment or facilities for which fees are charged to the patient instead of being provided by the State or a public body; spec. (in the United Kingdom since 1946) designating medical treatment or facilities outside the National Health Service.

1754 W. SMELLIE Treat. Midwifery II. xxvi. 437, I attended a private patient. 1826 Lancet 5 Aug. 599/2 Many increase the revenue of some private practitioner. 1860 F. NIGHTINGALE Notes on Nursing vi. 38, I have often seen the private nurse go on dusting..while the patient is eating... The above remarks apply much more to private nursing than to hospitals. 1934 P. BOTTOME Private Worlds xii. 114 They stood in a small private room off the ward, and looked down at the moaning woman on the bed. 1956 P. SCOTT Male Child I. i. 26, I spent most of April in a private nursing home. 1967 P. WILLMOTT Consumer's Guide Brit. Social Services vi. 158 Financial help towards the cost of private treatment is provided by several provident associations. 1976 N. LEIGH-TAYLOR Doctors & Law iv. 35 The Government has announced that it abolish private treatment in N.H.S. hospitals. 1996 Private Eye 13 Dec. 14/2 Presumably some of the patients who get hacked off waiting 18 months for an appointment decide to go private.

c. Of, designating, or belonging to an industry or business conducted or controlled by an individual or independent (commercial) body, rather than a public body or the State. Freq. in private company n. at Special uses 2, private sector n. at Special uses 2.

1641 T. ROE Speech in Parl. 5 We have yet another great help which is our owne..which is our fishing and erecting of Busses..and this by private industry (though to private losse) is beaten out already. 1723 F. HUTCHINSON Let. Member Parl. 3 Improving the Ground must be carried on by private Industry, and Experiments of ingenious Men, more than by publick Laws. 1790 J. A. PARK Syst. Law Marine Insurance (ed. 2) i. 9 Any policy subscribed by a private firm or partnership, is absolutely void. 1872 S. A. FOOT Autobiogr. 140, I am not aware that any private corporation in this state can sue or be sued except in its corporate name. 1934 Clearfield (Pa.) Progress 5 Oct. 4/1 The government..has had much to say about certain practices in the private business world by which fictitious values were created and traded on. 1978 W. W. ROSTOW Getting from Here to There xiii. 227 Growth was driven forward by..the expansion of public and private services facilitated by rapidly rising real incomes. 2005 Western Daily Press (Bristol) (Nexis) 21 Dec. 32 He has secured around £5million in private backing for his electro-kinetic road ramp which is set to go into production next year.

3.a. Concerning, involving, or affecting a particular person or group of people apart from the general community; individual or personal, rather than communal or shared. a1400 Clensyng Mannes Sowle in Eng. Misc. presented to Dr. Furnivall (1901) 264 Priuate penaunce is that penaunce which is done alday whan a man will priuely be confessed of his schrift fadir. c1475 (c1445) R. PECOCK Donet 131 Nei{th}ir bi story which {th}e disciplis and heerers of {th}e apostlis han writen, nei{th}ir bi surest priuate reuelacioun, it is open {th}at crist maad enye suche positive lawe. 1526 W. BONDE Pylgrimage of Perfection II. sig. Ki, Onely for their priuat profyte. 1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. xxxiiijv, Certen priuate dyspleasures did growe betwixte hym and the Frenche kynge. a1616 SHAKESPEARE Julius Caesar (1623) II. ii. 73 For your priuate satisfaction..I will let you know. 1651 T. HOBBES Leviathan II. xxii. 122 He, whose private interest is to be debated. 1776 A. SMITH Inq. Wealth of Nations I. I. x. 177 When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement. 1838 C. THIRLWALL Hist. Greece II. xv. 260 In reality they had only consulted their own private ambition. 1883 Law Rep.: Queen's Bench Div. 11 597 That the censure had been made injuriously and from motives of private malice. 1949 Archit. Rev. 105 248 The days when the designer ignored everything that didn't fall into line with his own private taste. 1992 N.Y. Times Mag. 31 May 44/3 Fingers splayed in private ecstasy, [he] starts dancing all over the stage.

b. Peculiar to a particular person, community, etc.; particular or special. Obs.

1526 Bible (Tyndale) 2 Pet. i. 20 So that ye fyrst knowe this, that no prophesy in the scripture hath eny private interpretacion [WYCLIF ech not maad bi propre interpretacioun; COVERDALE no done of eny priuate interpretacion; Geneva is of any priuate motion; Rhem. is made by priuate interpretation; 1611 is of any priuate interpretation.] 1559 in Strype Ann. Reformation (1709) I. App. viii. 20 The realm of Englande hath been alwaies governyd by private lawes and customes. 1593 T. BILSON Perpetual Govt. Christes Church vii. 86 Neither was this priuate to Timothie, was vsuall in the Apostles times. 1651 C. CARTWRIGHT Certamen Religiosum I. 120 How can any man assume to himselfe a freedome from Erring by the assistance of a private Spirit?

Biol. Of a protein, mutation, etc.: occurring only in a restricted population.

1956 Science 13 Apr. 633/2 It would seem that the Diego factor is not a ‘private’ blood group, but rather that its incidence is high in Indians. 1969 Vox Sanguinis 17 305 The new private antigen Pta is probably inherited as a Mendelian dominant. 1991 New Scientist 7 Dec. 31/2 Some mutations, so-called ‘private’ mutations, are so rare that they occur in only one family. 2004 Diabetes Care (Nexis) 27 1798 In Ojibwa-Cree indigenous Canadians, a private mutation..present in 20% of the population predisposes to diabetes.

4.a. Of or relating to a person as an individual or in a non-official capacity; not connected with one's work or official position. Freq. in private life n. at Special uses 2. 1421 in W. Fraser Douglas Bk. (1885) III. 242 Archibald erle of Douglas..Giffin onder owr prewait seill. a1525 Bk. Chess 762 in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1923) I, Thir iudges suld richt veill attend Fra pryvate luif. 1613 S. PURCHAS Pilgrimage 286 In a priuate habit he visited the Markets, and hanged vp the hoorders of coine. 1658 W. DAVENANT Play-house to Let IV, in Dram. Wks. (1873) IV. 85 Kings, who move Within a lowly sphere of private love, Are too domestic for a throne. 1713 R. STEELE in Guardian 30 May 1/2 The private Letters of great Men are the best Pictures of their Souls. 1797 W. GODWIN Enquirer I. vii. 59 A private pupil is too much of a man. 1830 Chron. in Ann. Reg. 259/1 The eldest of three sons of the grand-duke Charles-Frederick, by his morganique, or private-marriage, with Louisa-Caroline, countess of Hochberg. 1878 W. E. H. LECKY Hist. Eng. 18th Cent. I. i. 161 The influence which his good private character..once gave him had been rapidly waning. 1920 H. BEGBIE Mirrors of Downing St. 7 The private opposition he [sc. Lloyd George] encountered in Downing Street.

b. Of a person or company of people: not holding public office or official position; not officially recognized or authorized.

1437 Rolls of Parl. IV. 508/1 The commen sale and issue of alle ye Wolles..have specialle licences graunted to private personnes, a part for to selle hir owne Wolles and Wollefelles at large for his singuler avauntage and ayeinst ye commen prouffit. a1475 J. FORTESCUE Governance of Eng. (Laud) (1885) 125 He more subgeccion than doth a priuate person. 1549 Bk. Com. Prayer, Ceremonies, The appoyntmente..pertayneth not to pryuate menne. 1589 G. PUTTENHAM Arte Eng. Poesie I. xxiv. 38 It [sc. war] toucheth the whole state, and euery priuate man hath his portion in the damage. 1644 MILTON Areopagitica 16 No Poet should so much as read to any privat man, what he had writt'n. 1673 J. RAY Observ. Journey Low-countries 305 When the Gallies are at home those [slaves] that belong to private persons are permitted to lodge in their Masters houses. 1712 R. STEELE Spectator No. 429 {page}8 A Woman of Quality; married to a private Gentleman. 1776 A. SMITH Inq. Wealth of Nations I. ix. 113 As the capital of a private man..may increase beyond what he can employ in may likewise the capital of a great nation. 1817 J. EVANS Excurs. Windsor 72 It was a most uncommon thing for a private man, and a commoner, to be honoured with so long an audience. 1885 List of Subscribers, Classified (United Telephone Co.) (ed. 6) 233 (advt.) The Birkbeck Bank opens Drawing Accounts with trading firms and private individuals. 1930 G. B. SHAW Apple Cart p. xix, We cannot do this as private persons. It must be done by the Government or not at all. 1993 Time Internat. 18 Jan. 30/3 Godwin's group is advocating that the government let private individuals use the most powerful encryption systems.

c. Of a city or town: not forming a seat of government; not a capital. Obs. rare.

1632 W. LITHGOW Totall Disc. Trav. VII. 334 This Citty..was once the Capitall seat of the Kingdom, though is onely become a priuate place.

  1. a. Belonging to or forming the exclusive property of a particular individual, company, etc.

1442 in A. H. Thompson Visitations Relig. Houses Diocese Lincoln (1919) II. 52 Ye and thai aftere your rewle lyfe in commune..levyng vtterly all pryuate hydles, chaumbres, and syngulere housholdes. c1484 J. DE CARITATE tr. Secreta Secret. (Takamiya) 135 It is haue in hys howsold priuat seruauntys. 1502 W. ATKYNSON tr. T. à Kempis De Imitatione III. 221 The xxxi. chapiter, the loue of pryuate thynges & of mannys selfe letteth the perfyte goodnes of mannys soule. 1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cxxvij, They teache howe it is not lawful for the haue any thynge priuate, yt al things ought to be common. a1616 SHAKESPEARE Julius Caesar (1623) III. ii. 241 He hath left you all his Walkes, His priuate Arbors,..On this side Tyber. 1638 F. DU JON Painting of Ancients 147 As for private Libraries, Martial teacheth us, That in them the Images of such Writers as were as yet surviving, might bee admitted. 1690 J. LOCKE Ess. Humane Understanding III. xi. 254 For Words..being no Man's private possession, but the common measure of Commerce and Communication. 1799 W. TOOKE View Russ. Empire II. 531 The late empress having..relinquished her imperialties on the private mines. 1840 C. THIRLWALL Hist. Greece VII. 335 He sent back his brother Menelaus..together with his private baggage. 1899 Westm. Gaz. 21 Sept. 4/1 He hoped it would not go forth from the Conference that they wanted to stamp out all private venture schools. 1942 Antiquity 16 96 The establishment was certainly built as a private burial-place by a prominent local family. 1991 R. FERGUSON Henry Miller vi. 106 He had a large estate in Scarsdale and a private golf course.

b. Of a ship: (a) privately owned, operating commercially; see also private man of war n. at Special uses 2, private ship of war n. at Special uses 2; (b) (in the Royal Navy) under the command of a captain only, rather than a commodore or admiral.

1610 P. HOLLAND tr. W. Camden Brit. 36 What with ships for convoy of corne and victuals, and what with other private vessels that every man had built for to serve his owne turne, there was 800. saile and above. 1636 W. WELWOOD Abridgement Sea-lawes xxviii. 240 Captaines of Princes warfare-shippes should be..vigilant, diligent, and carefull... Their commandement and power over their company, not onely surpasseth the power of Masters and Commanders of private shippes, but also that of the Captaines on land. 1708 T. LANGHAM Neat Duties on All Merchandize 176/1 Imposition... Cloth on Private Ships, 20 per Cent. 1790 Aberdeen Mag. 23 Sept. 565/1 It was the intention of the Minister that he should embark in a private vessel, without Government appearing to have any concern in it. 1845 Jrnl. Royal Geogr. Soc. 15 294 Letters are made up by a local post-office, and sent to Lisbon by private ships. 1909 Times 25 May 14/4 The Boadicea is to commission first as a private ship, but will subsequently relieve the Topaze, flying the broad pennant of commodore. 1986 N. A. M. RODGER Wooden World (1988) i. 18 The decisions of a young commander of a sloop cruising alone might be more difficult than those of a senior post-captain commanding a private ship in a large squadron. 2005 Malaysia Gen. News (Nexis) 4 Jan., Donations..had been collected for tsunami victims in Acheh and would be sent via Port Klang tomorrow with the help of the Malaysian Navy and private vessels.

5. Kept or removed from public view or knowledge; secret; {dag}concealed (obs.). 1472-3 Rolls of Parl. VI. 29/2 After that dyvers of the Lordes and Knyghtes of the Shires were departed, by mervelous pryvat labour a Bille signed by the Kyng was brought to the seid Commens. 1533 J. BELLENDEN tr. Livy Hist. Rome (1901) I. 225/12 The faderis, movit to hie displeseris be thir persand wourdis, held..mony private consultatiouns. 1594 SHAKESPEARE Henry VI, Pt. 2 II. ii. 60 In this priuate place, be we the first to honor him with birthright to the Crown. 1615 R. BRATHWAIT Strappado 120 Which he suspecting, lay in priuate wait, To catch the knaue. 1669 R. MOUNTAGU in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 441 She send it over in my name, because that way it would be privater. 1700 J. TYRRELL Gen. Hist. Eng. II. 842 He lay private, till his Peace was made with the King. 1726 J. LEONI tr. L. B. Alberti Archit. I. 52/1 If the sound comes to you dead, and flat, it is a sign of some private [It. interna] infirmity. 1754 S. RICHARDSON Hist. Sir Charles Grandison (1781) VI. xliv. 282 No hugger mugger doings! Let private weddings be for doubtful happiness! 1839 DICKENS Nicholas Nickleby lx. 594 The same love of gain which led him to contract this marriage, led to its being kept strictly private. 1890 Lippincott's Mag. Jan. 13, It should be kept private for a time. 1977 Audubon May 4 The nest site is kept hidden, the jays approach it secretly, and nest-building and egg-brooding are very private. 1991 H. BRODKEY Runaway Soul 360 One's illicit uncensored private responses to war stuff was maybe a wistful and vicarious viciousness or a heroic unvicarious viciousness.

6.a. Of a conversation, communication, etc.: intended only for or confined to the person or persons directly concerned; confidential. 1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cxiijv, The byshoppes hauynge priuate talke with the Quene. 1650 W. BROUGH Sacred Princ. 285 Private Confession is reteined in the Reformed Churches. 1734 BP. J. STEARNE Let. 25 June in J. Swift Corr. (1965) IV. 236, I shall put off my defence till I have the pleasure of half an hour's private conversation with you. 1791 A. RADCLIFFE Romance of Forest I. vi. 222, I supplicate of you a few moments private discourse. 1857 TROLLOPE Barchester Towers xlvii, He received a letter, in an official cover, marked ‘private’. 1894 ‘A. HOPE’ Prisoner of Zenda ix. 128, I could hear no words, but Detchard's head was close to that of the taller of his companions... ‘H'm! Private communications,’ thought I. 1940 R. S. LAMBERT Ariel & all his Quality ix. 244 A letter was delivered..addressed ‘H. Brown, Esq., Broadcasting House’. It was not marked ‘Personal’ or ‘Private’. 1991 N.Y. Times Mag. 1 Dec. 30/2 Most of us miss these allusions; they are private communications to the cognoscenti.

b. Of a person: intimate or confidential (with a person); sexually intimate. Obs.

1574 E. HELLOWES tr. A. de Guevara Familiar Epist. 274 The Court is not but for men yt be priuate and in fauour, that can gather the frute thereof. 1612 J. WEBSTER White Divel III. i. 20 My lord duke & she have been very private. 1641 W. MOUNTAGU in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 286 The King is often very private with Digby and Bristow. 1648 T. GAGE Eng.-Amer. 205 A great Politician, and very familiar, private, and secret with the Archbishop of Canterbury. 1821 BYRON Marino Faliero IV. i. 102 Dismiss This menial hence; I would be private with you.

7. Teleph. and Telegr.

a. Of a telephone or line: that is permanently for the exclusive use of the subscriber, or not connected to the public network. Of a number: (a) ex-directory; (b) belonging to a private address rather than business premises. Chiefly in private line n. at Special uses 2, private number n. at Special uses 2.

1852 L. TURNBULL Lect. Electro-magnetic Telegraph 137 Nearly all the railroad companies have private lines for their own use, and preparations are now making, which..will include every town..throughout Germany in this network of communications. 1878 Telegr. Jrnl. 6 51/1 The regulations concerning the despatch and receipt of telegrams, the tariffs for the same, and for the renting of private wires. 1924 J. BUCHAN Three Hostages xvi. 235 This must be a private telephone..of which only his special friends knew the number. 1976 T. H. FLOWERS Introd. Exchange Syst. i. 11 Picture possible over the telephone service lines but difficulties discourage small users and encourage large users of such services to rent private circuits not subject to switching. 1990 J. BRADSHAW Homecoming x. 203, I changed my private phone an unlisted number. 1996 Vancouver Sun 13 Apr. A17 (advt.) Service will not provide numbers from cellular callers or call blocked or private numbers.

. Designating components of an exchange circuit whose electric potential indicates the condition of a particular subscriber's line, used to test whether the line is in use without interfering with a call in progress. Freq. in private wire n. at Special uses 2.

1852 Times 20 July 3/6 The merchants and stockbrokers of this country..will form their own opinions as to the propriety of A K messages and private wires. 1906 J. POOLE Pract. Telephone Handbk. (ed. 3) xxx. 486 When a current is started and stopped through the ‘private’ magnet, the end of the side-switch arm slips under the outer tooth. 1919 R. MORDIN Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange i. 23 The whole arrangement of fixed contacts is called the connector bank; the upper half the private bank, and the lower the line bank. 1942 J. POOLE Telephone Handbk. x. 238 The potential on the private conductor throughout the call is normally that of earth. 1969 S. F. SMITH Telephony & Telegr. A vi. 153 A third wire is therefore provided on all connexions through the exchange, the potential of which indicates the condition of the circuit. This avoids intrusion on calls in progress and is called the private wire, usually abbreviated to ‘P-wire’.

. Of a telephone exchange: serving private lines. Chiefly in private branch exchange n. at Special uses 2.

1891 J. POOLE Pract. Telephone Handbk. vii. 124 Fig. 102 represents a type of switch-board which was designed by the writer in 1881 for the use of private telephone exchanges. 1983 New Scientist (BNC) 28 Apr., Mercury is waiting for Telecom to connect its equipment with a private telephone exchange. 1998 What Cellphone Aug. 104/3 (Gloss.), PABX , Private Automated Branch Exchange. Automated multi-extension exchanges or switchboards as used nowadays by most offices.

  • Relating to or connected with activities restricted to one person or a few people.

8.Of a place: unfrequented, secluded; affording privacy.

1516 R. FABYAN New Chron. Eng. (1811) VI. clix. 149 Ye sayd bysshoppes were depryued of theyr dignyties, and put into pryuate houses of relygyon. 1662 J. RAY Three Itin. II. 162 We went to Shap,..where we saw the ruins of the abbey, very pleasantly situate in a private valley. 1746 W. DUNKIN in P. Francis tr. Horace Sat. I. ix. 145 In private haunt, in public meet, Salute, escort him through the Street. 1750 Bible (Challoner) III. Psalms x. 8 He sitteth in ambush with the rich in private places, that he may kill the innocent. 1756 J. WOOLMAN Jrnl. (1971) i. 29, I frequently withdrew into private places and often with tears besought the Lord to help me. 1817 J. EVANS Excurs. Windsor 192, I scarce go out of my own house, and then only to two or three very private places, where I see nobody that really knows anything. 1896 A. R. WHITE Youth's Educator iv. 36 She reserves all those disagreeable fashions for a more private place. 1924 Nevada State Jrnl. 6 Dec. 1/1 The train on which Mr. Coolidge returned was more private. 1991 J. PHILLIPS You'll never eat Lunch in this Town Again 345 The first thing one needs to find is a private place for bathroom requirements.

9. Of a person, etc.: retiring, reclusive; living a quiet or secluded life; reserved, unsociable. 1585 R. PARSONS Chr. Exercises II. i. 191 S. Antony..a little before had professed a priuate and a solitarie life in Egypt. 1599 M. DRAYTON Idea in Englands Heroic. Epist. (new ed.) sig. P5, O God from you that I could priuate be. 1630 tr. G. Botero Relations Famous Kingdoms World 58 Their women are very private, fearefull to offend. 1673 R. LEIGH Transproser Rehears'd 79 How one of his private condition and breeding could arrive to this degree of court-ship. 1759 R. JACKSON Hist. Rev. Pennsylvania 379 'Tis true, very private, that in the Herd of Gentry they are hardly to be found. 1850 L. HUNT Autobiogr. xvii. 267 The privatest of all public men found himself complimented. 1991 Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Sept. 240/2 Unlike the Bloomsburys,..the leading writers in London today tend like Drabble and Holroyd to be very private.

10. Of a person or two people: alone; undisturbed by others.

1599 SHAKESPEARE Romeo & Juliet I. i. 134 Away from light steales home my heauie sonne, And priuate in his Chamber pennes himselfe. 1623 SHAKESPEARE & J. FLETCHER Henry VIII II. ii. 14, I left him priuate, Full of sad thoughts and troubles. 1752 S. FOOTE Taste I. 3 Let us be private. 1851 H. MELVILLE Moby-Dick iii. 17 No man prefers to sleep two in a bed... I don't know how it is, but people like to be private when they are sleeping. 1928 D. H. LAWRENCE Lady Chatterley's Lover x. 140 A man could no longer be private and withdrawn. The world allows no hermits. 1983 J. LINGARD Winter Visitor i. 9 Ed Black wanted to be private, you could tell that at a glance.

11 . Privy to; = PRIVY adj. 4a. Also with with. Obs. 1601 B. JONSON Fountaine of Selfe-love I. ii. 31 Had Eccho but beene priuate with thy thoughtes. ?1635 F. QUARLES Argalus & Parthenia (new ed.) II. 81 Not making any private to her flight, She quits the house, and steales away by night. 1742 Cervantes' Novels, Lady C. Bentivoglio 92 That Maid-servant of mine, who was private [1640 privie] to my Actions.

12. Of a person: secretive, reticent; discreet, dependable in confidential matters. Obs. a1625 J. FLETCHER Wife for Moneth I. i, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Ffffff4v/1, You know I am private as your secret wishes, Ready to fling my soule upon your service. 1660 A. MARVELL Corr. in Wks. (1875) II. 34 We hope you will be private in these things, communicated to you out of faithfulness to your interest. 1824 SCOTT Redgauntlet II. xii. 278, You must give me yours [word] to be private in the matter.


  • Privately; secretly, in private. Now chiefly regional and nonstandard.

c1443 R. PECOCK Reule of Crysten Religioun (Morgan M 519) 364 Alle {th}e lyuyng of religiose persoones which {th}ei leeden priuate and singuler..come{th} into {th}e lawe of god. a1592 R. GREENE Orlando Furioso (1594) sig. Hiiv, Nere had my Lord falne into these extreames, Which we will parle priuate to our selues. 1660 S. PEPYS Diary 6 Mar. (1970) I. 79 Everybody now drink the King's health..whereas before it was very private that a man dare do it. 1704 J. TRAPP Abra-Mulé I. i. 117, I came private, and unattended. 1759 J. SHUTER Let. 1 July in P. L. White Beekman Mercantile Papers (1956) II. 663 The busnes Was Careyed on So privet that I did not know of it until it was all over. 1821 SCOTT Kenilworth I. viii. 202 He..came not thither so private but what he was espied by one who told me. 1876 ‘M. TWAIN’ Adventures Tom Sawyer xxxv. 272 I'll smoke private and cuss private. 1905 A. M. BINSTEAD Mop Fair viii. 135 They arranges to stop ‘private’ in Brighton, at a little case in Black Lion Street where Tom Reeder annually took his old woman every August. 1977 I. SHAW Beggarman, Thief I. ii. 25 We got some things to talk about together, private, him and me. 1996 C. I. MACAFEE Conc. Ulster Dict. 262/2 Private, privately, thus live private live on a private income.


  • A private affair or thing.

13.a. in private: privately, confidentially, or secretly; in private company; in private life. Formerly also {dag}on private. 1469 Charter Edinb. Reg. House No. 419, I sall neuer in privat nothr in part be me or ony otheris..hendyr [etc.]. 1581 R. MULCASTER Positions xxxix. 188 Doth not that deserue to be liked on in priuate, which is thoroughly tryed being showed forth in common? 1582 R. STANYHURST tr. Virgil First Foure Bookes Æneis I. 9 Hee walcks on priuat with noane but faythful Achates. 1615 G. SANDYS Relation of Journey 171 Confesse they do, but not greatly in priuate. 1672 R. BAXTER Church told of Bagshaw's Scandals iii. 32 Could you wish..that the..Protestant Religion were kept up by none but the unconformable Ministers in private? 1732 T. LEDIARD tr. J. Terrasson Life Sethos II. IX. 273 You are absolutely forbidden speaking to him in private. 1791 A. RADCLIFFE Romance of Forest I. v. 197 If you must be tyrannical, Madam, indulge your humour in private. 1832 H. MARTINEAU Life in Wilds vi, Let each family eat in private. 1896 C. G. D. ROBERTS Forge in Forest viii. 101 Would you speak with me in private, Father? 1952 B. DAVIDSON Rep. S. Afr. I. i. 27 No serious South African will argue any longer (at least in private) that apartheid..can work. 1992 Face Feb. 14/2 Ashley..[is] willing to say in print what many more are muttering in private.

  1. b. Seclusion, privacy. Obs.

a1616 SHAKESPEARE Twelfth Night (1623) III. iv. 88 Go off, I discard you: let me enioy my priuate. ?a1638 J. WEBSTER Appius & Virginia (1654) II. i, I see there's nothing in such private done, But you must inquire after. a1657 G. DANIEL Idyllia in Poems (1878) i. 58 Perhaps I have To my owne Private, had reflects, as grave On my Condition.

2. a. A private or personal matter, business, or interest; (in pl.) private affairs. Obs.

1549 N. RIDLEY Let. in R. Potts Liber Cantabr. (1855) I. 245 [Letters] to signifye..the privits of my hart and consciance. 1592 H. UNTON Corr. (1847) 289, I will no longer hold your Lordship with this my privatt. 1606 W. WARNER Albions Eng. XV. xcvi. 383 Phocas for his Priuats Rome the Supreme Sea promoted. 1611 B. JONSON Catiline III. i. 481 Nor must I be vnmindfull of my priuate. 1642 J. MARCH Argument Militia 7 When it concerns any mans private. 1674 R. JOSSELIN Diary 10 May (1976) 575 My private very afflictive.

A private opinion. Obs. rare.

1599 A. DAY Eng. Secretorie (rev. ed.) I. sig. U1, Yet may you vouchsafe in your owne priuate to reckon mee with the greatest in willingnesse.

3. A lavatory; = PRIVY n. 1. Obs. rare.

1600 J. HAMILTON Facile Traictise Sacram. 281 {Ygh}oung wemen..casting thair new borne babes in filthie priuets, vthers in colpots, and in vther secret places.

4. In pl. The genitals. Cf. private parts n. at Special uses 2. In quot. 1604 also punningly with sense C. 9a.

1604 SHAKESPEARE Hamlet II. ii. 236 In the middle of her fauours..her priuates we. 1756 M. MOONEY Diss. Nature & Cure Venereal Dis. 12 They both affect the Privates in the same Manner. 1772 N. FALCK Treat. Venereal Dis. I. ii. 28 Women have naturally many discharges from their privates, to which men are strangers with theirs. 1835 A. SMITH Diary 29 July (1940) II. 136 They had a piece of skin bound round the body and a piece of rag hanging before the privates. 1900 G. M. GOULD & W. L. PYLE Anomalies & Curiosities Med. xiv. 734 The man..cut off the whole external genital apparatus, remarking as he flung the parts into a corner: ‘Any{em}fool can cut his throat, but it takes a soldier to cut his privates off!’ 1940 C. MCCULLERS Heart is Lonely Hunter II. iv. 155 He's so fat he hasn't seen his privates for twenty years. 1955 S. BECKETT Molloy 77 She..thrust her stick between my legs and began to titillate my privates. 1993 Sun 31 May (Summer Soccer Special) 7/2, I kicked the ball across the pitch for a throw-in and it hit my old Cambridge team-mate John Francis in the privates. He dropped like a stone.

5. A private or confidential communication. Obs. rare.

a1616 SHAKESPEARE King John (1623) IV. iii. 16 The Count Meloone,..Whose priuate with me of the Dolphines loue, Is much more generall, then these lines import.

slang. [Short for private school n. at Special uses 2] In the language of British public schools, esp. Eton College: a preparatory school.

1925 C. CONNOLLY Let. 6 Apr. in Romantic Friendship (1975) 64, I met quite a nice small boy who is at my private. 1932 N. MITFORD Christmas Pudding v. 81 At my private..we had a most handy little cemetery for the fathers, just behind the cricket pav. 1965 Listener 22 July 128/1 What p

colloq. [Short for private bar n. at Special uses 2] = private bar n. at Special uses 2.

1963 N. MARSH Dead Water i. 9 There was only one other woman in the Private beside Jenny. 1975 A. HUNTER Gently with Love xxxiii. 132 Come into the private{em}I would not have you leave without a crack.

  • A private person.
9. a. A person who does not hold any public office or position. Obs.

1483 Catholicon Anglicum (Monson 168) 291 A Priuate, priuatus. a1616 SHAKESPEARE Henry V (1623) IV. i. 235 And what haue Kings, that Priuates haue not too, Saue Ceremonie, saue generall Ceremonie? 1671 MILTON Samson Agonistes 1211, I was no private but a person rais'd With..command from Heav'n To free my Countrey.

b. the private: people who hold no public office, as a class. Opposed to the public. Obs.

1716 POPE Corr. 29 Nov. (1956) I. 377 You have already done enough for the Private, do something for the Publick. a1734 R. NORTH Lives of Norths (1826) III. 274 Who hath neither inclination nor temptation to court the public, or flatter the private.

10. An ordinary soldier of the lowest ranks; (in the British Army) a soldier below the rank of lance corporal; = private soldier n. at Special uses 2. Also as title. Formerly also: an ordinary sailor of the lowest ranks. This rank has many alternative names in different parts of the British Army, as Fusilier, Guardsman, Gunner, Highlander, Kingsman, Rifleman, Sapper, Signaller, Trooper, etc.

[1756 G. WASHINGTON Let. 21 July in Writings (1931) I. 408 John Coke, who was appointed to your Company, a Sergeant, has since been broke for neglect of Duty. You will receive him as private and in his room as Sergeant, Mark Hollies.] 1775 Jrnl. Continental Congress 2 188 Regular companies of Militia..consist of one captain, drummer, one fifer, and about 68 privates. 1797 Parl. Reg. 1797-1800 II. 419 The respective increase of monthly pay for able seamen, ordinary seamen, and landmen, with 2d. per day to the non commissioned officers of marines, and 2{oneon4} d. to the privates, would produce a sum total yearly £.351,000. 1810 DUKE OF WELLINGTON in J. Gurwood Dispatches (1838) VI. 45 One officer, four serjeants and fifty privates of the 23rd light dragoons. 1863 Army & Navy Jrnl. 3 Oct. 84 The privates employed in the Navy are classed in the following rates. 1898 Westm. Gaz. 18 July 5/3 The officerless privates then went in and did nobly. 1918 Aussie Aug. 9/2 The C.O. endeavours to persuade Private Hardcase to accept Blighty Leave. 1954 W. FAULKNER Fable (1955) 54 Two British privates were resting on the firestep of a frontline trench. 1991 Combat & Survival Nov. 12/2 Everyone I spoke to, from the most junior Private to the Commander of 3rd Brigade..seemed confident that they belonged to a team of professionals.


1. a. General attrib. (chiefly in sense A. 2). private assembly n.

1564 A. BACON tr. J. Jewel Apol. Def. Churche of Eng. sig. Pi, The Bysshops of the weste parte of the worlde didde call togeather Synodes, and make priuate assemblies in their Prouinces. 1625 P. HEYLYN {Mu}{iota}{kappa}{rho}{goacu}{kappa}{omicron}{sigma}{mu}{omicron}{fsigma} (rev. ed.) 79 These latter are called Hugonots, so named, as they say, of a gate in Tours (where they first began) called Hugo's gate, out of which they vsed to goe to their private assemblies. 1651 T. HOBBES Leviathan II. xix. 99 If it [sc. the succession] be in any other particular Man, or private Assembly, it is in a person subject, and may be assumed by the Soveraign at his pleasure. 1797 E. MALONE in J. Reynolds Wks. I. p. lv, When not some publick or private assembly, or at the theatre. 1842 Times 14 Apr. 4/5 He had summoned only a private assembly in a corner of the Reform Club. 1910 Encycl. Relig. & Ethics III. 176 The prohibition of public worship drove the people to private assemblies. 1983 Russ. Rev. 42 143 Dostoevsky committed the indiscretions that resulted at once in his arrest, declaiming Belinsky's radical letter to Gogol at more than one private assembly.

private baptism n.

1549 Bk. Common Prayer vii. f. cxxixv (heading), Of them that be Baptised in priuate houses in tyme of necessitie... *Priuate Baptism. 1662 Bk. Com. Prayer, The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children in houses. 1774 Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 64 439 The number of children, who died after receiving only private baptism, in consequence of which their deaths were registered, but not their births, amounts to 17. 1852 J. BEAVEN (title) A manual for the visitation of the which is added, the office for private baptism. 1996 Hist. Jrnl. 39 1000 The Breslau messenger Merkert, who had baptised his own child, was acquitted by the courts on the grounds that private baptisms were legal.

private boarding-house n.

1795 Times 5 Jan. 4/2 (advt.) Many years established as a *private Boarding House. 1818 Proc. & Rep. Commissioners Univ. Virginia 21 The dieting of the students should be left to private boarding-houses of their own choice. 1987 Toronto Star (Nexis) 14 Jan. A16 If you're troublesome, alcoholic, or restive, chances are you'll be forced by economics to live in places like Channan Court, a notorious private boarding house.

private brougham n.

1848 Spectator 5 Feb. 129/2 Hackney cabs would soon get to rival *private broughams in their comfort and appearance. 1864 TROLLOPE Can you forgive Her? I. xxxix. 304 He saw Mrs Greenow issue forth from the Close in a private brougham, accompanied by one of the Fairstairs girls. 1922 J. JOYCE Ulysses II. 143 Hackney cars, cabs, delivery waggons, mailvans, private broughams. 1999 J. GLAVIN After Dickens ii. 48 Nicholas himself becomes an idol of the town, rich, feted: ladies of the chorus on every chaise longue, while countesses by the dozen wait near the stage door discreetly expectant in their private broughams.

private carriage n.

1787 Daily Universal Reg. 17 Jan. 3/2 She was interred in her family-vault at Sutton, in Essex, to which place she was drawn by a hearse and six horses, followed by her own *private carriage. 1826 W. HONE Every-day Bk. (1827) II. 57 Private carriages..draw up to the box door with a vigorous sweep. 1921 V. WOOLF String Quartet in Monday or Tuesday 59 Private carriages..have been busy at it, weaving threads from one end of London to the other. 1999 T. MAY Victorian & Edwardian Horse Cabs 13 The cabs that they ran were only one type of vehicle amongst many that they made available, others often including omnibuses and hearses or mourning coaches, as well as a variety of private carriages.

private chapel n.

1565 J. JEWEL Replie Hardinges Answeare i. 72 By this Decree wee learne, that then Masses were commonly saide in *Priuate Chapels at home. 1691 A. WOOD Athenæ Oxon. I. 579 He bequeathed all his books, his two Chalices, his Crewetts, holy water stock [etc.] his private chappell in London. 1786 Daily Universal Reg. 19 Sept. 2/3 Their Majesties attended by four of the Princesses, went to the private Chapel at Windsor, and heard divine service there. 1839 H. W. LONGFELLOW Hyperion I. II. ix. 195 Besides, he is known as a man of learning and piety;{em}has his private chapel, and private clergyman, who always preaches against the vanity of worldly riches. 1994 Church Times 25 Nov. 9/4 Part of the design includes a tricanale, which came from the designs of Andrewes's private chapel.

private communion n.

1565 J. JEWEL Replie Hardinges Answeare ii. 129 Many of the places, that I alleged in the article before this for *Priuate Communion, may serue to this purpose very wel. a1649 J. WINTHROP Hist. New Eng. (1853) I. 340 Excommunication is no other but when Christians withdraw private communion from one that hath offended. a1776 D. HUME Hist. Eng. (1854-6) IV. xlvii. 443 The rites introduced by James regarded the kneeling at the sacrament, private communion, private baptism, confirmation of children, and the observance of Christmas and other festivals. 1823 M. W. SHELLEY Valperga III. 267 We know nothing of the private communion of these friends. 1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 974/1 An invalid may always have his private communion. 2003 Courier Mail (Queensland) (Nexis) 21 June M6 It's the classic image of a little child, wrapped in private communion with a book, oblivious of the clatter from the kitchen, the dog barking, the car accelerating down the road.

private education n.

1581 Priuate education [see sense A. 2b(a)]. 1668 D. LLOYD Memoires 271 He was..against Fathers keeping their Children at home under their own tuition, because private Education hardly raiseth Youths to that vigor, freedom, and generosity of spirit, that a more publick doth. 1742 S. RICHARDSON Pamela IV. liv. 341 He may teach a young Gentleman, betimes, that necessary Presence of Mind, which those who are confin'd to a private Education, sometimes want. 1839 H. T. TUCKERMAN Isabel 16 Isabel had reaped the advantages of a faithful private education and occasional visits to the principal cities of her country. 1992 Economist 6 June 30/1 Parents opt for private education because they worry that they will have no choice but to send their children to the lousy comprehensive around the corner.

private funeral n.

1577 R. EDEN & R. WILLES tr. Hist. Trauayle W. & E. Indies f. 258v, Many Bonzii returne lykewise to these *priuate funeralles. 1676 E. SETTLE Conquest of China by Tartars IV. i. 41 If 'twere by your Sword her Chance to fall, My hand should give her private Funeral. 1766 T. AMORY Life John Buncle II. v. 162, I gave her a decent private funeral; a hearse, and one mourning-coach, in which I alone attended her remains to the earth. 1883 Harper's Mag. Mar. 648/1 ‘Well,’ said the Pacific sloper, ‘if it's a private funeral, what do they call it a reception for?’ 2002 Newsweek 11 Mar. 42/3 The van Dams plan a private funeral, with a public memorial on March 16 at the beach in La Jolla.

private meeting n.

1576 A. FLEMING tr. Isocrates in Panoplie Epist. 175 To thinke of them, as of things in *priuate meetings of friends & familiar companions, very requisite & auailable. 1612 W. STRACHEY Lawes in P. Force Tracts (1844) III. II. 39 Hee shall command all disordred people vntimely (sitting vp late in vsuall assemblies, whither in priuat meetings, publike tap-houses, or such like places) vnto their rests. 1748 S. RICHARDSON Clarissa IV. xxxiv. 202 No woman ever gave me a private meeting for nothing; my dearest Miss Harlowe excepted. 1896 Atlantic Monthly Aug. 274/1 On the eve of her marriage Clorinda has a private meeting in her house with Sir John. 1995 C. SAGAN Demon-haunted World vi. 103, I arranged for McDonald to present his best cases in a private meeting with leading physicists and astronomers.

private play n.

1603 SHAKESPEARE Hamlet II. iii. 340 Yfaith my Lord, noueltie carries it away, For the principall publike audience that Came to them, are turned to priuate playes, And to the humour of children. 1633 W. PRYNNE Histrio-mastix I. VI. v. 495 These Statutes (which are principally intended in private Playes and Enterludes, since they condemne and suppresse all publike,) seeme to allow of popular Stage-playes. 1790 F. REYNOLDS Dramatist I. 12 Whence arises the pleasure at an Opera, a private Play, or a Speech in Parliament? 1868 P. FITZGERALD Life David Garrick I. vi. 158 It was once determined to get up a private play..and the parts were cast in a moment. 1989 Independent (Nexis) 27 Jan. 21 The Duchess of Leinster adopted her, and the Duke of Richmond made her supervisor of his private plays.

private theatre n.

1633 W. PRYNNE 2nd Pt. Histrio-mastix I. 835 Whether the profession of a Playhouse-Poet, or the penning of Playes for publike or *private Theaters, be warrantable or lawfull? 1784 W. HAYLEY (title) Plays of three acts written for a private theatre. 1807 E. WEETON Let. 18 Nov. (1969) 50 She..was never outshone in elegance of movement at a Ball, out-performed at a private Theatre. 1999 N.Y. Times 19 Oct. E3/4 Grounded in jazz, copping its wit from jump blues, the music Ms. Jones made transformed the American musical canon into her private theater and hiding place.

private theatrical n.

1787 J. POWELL (title) The narcotic & *private theatricals. 1818 KEATS Let. 23 Jan. (1931) I. 96, I began an account of a private theatrical{em}Well it was of the lowest order, all greasy and oily. 1831 D. E. WILLIAMS Life Sir T. Lawrence I. 50 Nor did he ever take part in any private theatricals. 1990 Vanity Fair Nov. 76/1 Lust was trench warfare for him, a private theatrical for her.

b. Forming adjectives in combination with participles, as {dag}private-humoured, private-looking, private-spirited, etc.

1602 W. FULBECKE Pandectes 58 Secreat meetinges of male-contents, phantasticall, and priuate humored persons. 1655 J. SERGEANT Schism Dis-arm'd 19 The Doctors private-spirited opinion. 1709 J. SHAW Lett. to Nobleman iii. 19 The sloathful private spirited and inglorious Stranger. 1834 J. L. MOTLEY Let. 17 Jan. (1889) I. ii. 33 The palaces in Berlin being all very simple private-looking houses. 1895 Spectator 21 Sept. 368 Unpatriotic and..private-spirited reason. 1925 Philos. Rev. 34 25 Selfish and private-spirited activities, no less than noble and public-spirited activities, obey this law. 1993 Time Out 31 Mar.-7 Apr. 41/4 Mostly this is exemplary private-minded, public spirited journalism. 2004 Bath Chron. (Nexis) 18 May 30 Housed in a long, low, private-looking building of honey-coloured stone, the sanctuary is all that it says it is{em}a retreat from bustle and stress.

2. private account n. a bank account relating to one's personal (as opposed to business) assets; a credit account for personal purchases.

1772 Edinb. Advertiser 2 Oct. 210/2 Had James..any conception that you was indebted upon your own *private account? 1785 Daily Universal Reg. 16 Sept. 3/2 Above 600,000..sterling per annum have been drawn off on private accounts, by the way of China alone. 1854 C. NORTON Eng. Laws for Women 81 Mr Norton..sent his attorney to make extracts at their bank, of all sums entered in my private account. 1987 W. J. BURLEY Wycliffe & Scapegoat (BNC) 66 On the day Mr Riddle disappeared he drew two hundred and ninety pounds from his private account.

private Act n. a British parliamentary Act affecting only the interests of a particular individual or small group of individuals (as a corporation, local area, etc.); cf. public act n. at PUBLIC adj. and n. Special uses 2.

[1640 W. SOMNER Antiq. Canterbury Pref. sig. **2v, No other language then is frequently found in the Charters, and such private Acts of Parliament.] 1659 J. RUSHWORTH Hist. Coll. 153 (heading) *Private Acts. 1705 Laws conc. Poor vi. 78 Being a private Act none can be indicted. 1818 W. CRUISE Digest Laws Eng. Real Property (ed. 2) V. 527 An estate tail, granted by Richard III. to the Derby family..which by a private act of 4 Jac. I. was limited to the heirs male of the family in a different manner from that in which it had been limited by the letters patent. 1991 J. KINGDOM Local Govt. & Politics in Brit. xiii. 213 Parliament sometimes extended the provisions of a good private Act to cover all areas by passing a public Act.

private army n. an army not recruited by the State; a mercenary force; also fig. and in extended use.

1857 Times 18 Nov. 8/2 His own Contingent was still so strong as not to be immediately controlable by his *private army. 1933 E. A. MOWRER Germany puts Clock Back 94 The Steel Helmet, or Confederation of Front-line Soldiers, the most respectable of the private armies, was founded on Christmas Day, 1918. 1959 M. GILBERT Blood & Judgement ix. 95 The police were a private army. 1968 N.Y. Times 23 July 41 (heading) Norman Mailer enlists his private army to act in film. 1992 Utne Reader Jan.-Feb. 79/1 With the veneer of the Soviet threat torn away, agency actions prove more than ever a thesis shared by numerous former CIA agents{em}that the national security apparatus is little more than the private army of the Fortune 500.

private bank n. a bank owned and run by a small group of people (in Britain, the maximum number was traditionally ten, but this was increased under the 1967 Companies Act to twenty), each partner having unlimited liability.

1663 W. KILLIGREW Proposal 15 That a distinct Appartment, in this Office, shall be fitted; where all Merchants, and Others, may lodge their Cash, as in the Public, or *Private Banks. 1714 in A. M. Davis Tracts Currency Mass. Bay (1902) 115 Which does most of all import them, the Publick or the Private Bank? 1802 M. EDGEWORTH Let. 1 Dec. in M. Edgeworth in France & Switzerland (1979) 43 Private banks never issue any notes. 1978 M. BIRMINGHAM Sleep in Ditch 120 My mother wanted me to be a one of the small, distinguished private banks. 2000 Econ. Affairs 20 5/3 Even in countries where private banks do not print the currency today, these institutions do create money when they make loans.

private banker n. a person who owns and runs a private bank.

1711 P. H. Impartial View Two Late Parl. 104 The *Private Bankers, who look'd upon the Bank with an envious Eye from its first Establishment. 1776 A. SMITH Inq. Wealth of Nations I. ix, Private bankers in London give no interest for the money which is deposited with them. 1884 Helena (Montana) Independent 29 Apr. 1/4 The secretary had exercised a wise discretion by depositing money with the treasurer rather than with a private banker. 1978 P. NOYES Who is Simon Warwick? viii. 104 A house which only a private banker could possibly have described as a cottage.

private banking n. the operations of a private bank.

1757 M. POSTLETHWAYT Great Britain's True Syst. ix. 211 By the Means of public and *private Banking. 1793 Edinb. Advertiser 30 July 74/1 On account of its permanency, such an institution is preferable to private banking. 1818 Times 9 Apr. 2/3 The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that his regulations went solely to the system of private banking. 1836 in W. L. Mackenzie Life & Times M. Van Buren (1846) 176 If the fetters are knocked off by the repeal of the Restraining Law, private banking associations may be formed. 1997 Investors Chron. 19 Sept. 32/1 Just two decades ago, reference to private banking in London would only really entail such organisations as Coutts & Co and Hoare & Co.

private bar n. = lounge bar n. at LOUNGE n. Compounds 2; (also) a bar which is not open to the public.

1892 A. CONAN DOYLE Adventures Sherlock Holmes vii. 168 Holmes pushed open the door of the *private bar and ordered two glasses of beer from the ruddy-faced, white-aproned landlord. 1910 H. G. WELLS Hist. Mr. Polly viii. 259 The policeman..put his head inside the Private Bar, to the horror of every one there. 1972 M. GILBERT Body of Girl xii. 107 She was in here..just after we opened. She came into the private bar. 1992 Evening Standard 28 Sept. 11/4 The confused housewife with the naff sofa, and the private bar in her garage.

private bath n. a bath for private use; (now usually) = private bathroom n.

1771 T. SMOLLETT Humphry Clinker I. 91 To purify myself from all such contamination, I went to the duke of Kingston's *private Bath, and there I was almost suffocated for want of free air. 1825 E. WEETON Jrnl. 14 June (1969) II. 384, I like to bathe alone, and a private bath is just to my taste. 1906 ‘O. HENRY’ Four Million 47 The double front room with private bath. 1995 Common Ground Jan. 32 (advt.) Three bedrooms, each with private bath.

private bathroom n. a bathroom set aside for private use, esp. one attached to a hotel room or guest room.

1857 Chambers's Information for People (new ed.) I. 474/2 The establishment should possess washing-rooms, single *private bath-rooms, a large plunge bath-room, and waiting-rooms for the several classes of bathers. 1910 Bradshaw's Railway Guide Apr. 1148 Suites of rooms with private Bathrooms. 1995 Sun 26 Apr. 23/3 (advt.) All apartments have fully equiped kitchenettes, private bathroom and balconies.

private beach n. a beach that is privately owned, esp. by a hotel for the use of guests.

1859 N.Y. Times 26 Mar. 6/4 (advt.) The location is..near a fine *private beach for sea bathing, fine roads, delightful drives. 1860 Times 26 Dec. 11/5 All the comforts of a country home, fine sea air, a private beach, and the services of an efficient resident governess. 1961 Sphere 6 May 212 A new 1st-class hotel, the Hibiscus, with private beach, opens this summer. 1991 Holiday Which? Mar. 108/3 There are no private beaches in Goa, but in peak season guards unobtrusively try to keep the peddlars away from the cream pickings.

private bed n. (a) a hospital bed in which a patient has privacy; (b) (in the United Kingdom) a place allocated for private inpatients at a National Health Service hospital.

1855 Times 24 Sept. 9/1 For *private beds ‘revolving fans’ are used within mosquito curtains. 1927 Science 4 Nov. 420/2 The new hospital will contain about 415 public beds, seventy-five private beds and an extensive out-patient department. 1967 P. WILLMOTT Consumer's Guide Brit. Social Services vi. 158 Private beds amount to little over one per cent of the total number of beds in use. 1993 A. GOODMAN Tell them I'm on my Way (BNC) 232 There were..approximately 4,000 private beds in NHS hospitals out of a total of 400,000 hospital beds throughout the country.

private bill n. (in Britain) a legislative bill affecting only the interests of a particular body or individual; cf. private Act n.

1572 Original Commons Jrnls. II. 101 It is ordered by the house to sytte at afternoones, from three of the clock till six, and to proceede but only in private bills. 1678 S. BUTLER Hudibras III. ii. 145 Who..Can..Lay Publick Bills aside, for Private, And make 'em one another Drive out. 1785 Daily Universal Reg. 9 Feb. 34/3 The House of Peers came to a resolution not to receive any reports from the Judges on private Bills. 1844 T. E. MAY Law of Parl. 302 The functions of Parliament in passing private bills, have always retained the mixed judicial and legislative character of ancient times. 1990 Green Mag. Apr. 16/1 Fighting Parliamentary Private Bills has added to the problems facing conservationists.

Private Bill Office n. an office in the Houses of Parliament which deals with business relating to private bills.

1819 Times 26 Mar. 2/5 Leave might be granted them to deposit in the *private bill office, a sectional plan of the property through which the rail-road was to run. 1850 in J. Irving Ann. Our Time 30 Nov. (1872) 315/1 Plans for about 104 new schemes were deposited to-day in the Private Bill Office. 1981 Legislative Stud. Q. 6 502 The last of the older offices, the Private Bill Office, which looks after bills for the benefit of particular interests, dates from the first appointment of a Clerk of Private Bills in 1810.

private box n. a box in a theatre which may be booked for the exclusive use of a group of people.

a1640 P. MASSINGER City-Madam (1658) II. sig. E2, The *private Box took up at a new Play For me, and my retinue. 1787 Daily Universal Reg. 10 Aug. 2/1 Wednesday evening their Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of York were in a private box, at the Hay-market Theatre. 1897 R. KIPLING Let. 1 June in C. E. Carrington Rudyard Kipling (1955) x. 254 We went to the Lyceum... Irving put a private box at our disposal. 2004 Sunday Tel. (Nexis) 28 Mar. 9 It is a beautiful 1,500-seat auditorium with ornate plaster ceilings, faded ruby-red carpets, sloping balcony and gilded private boxes above each side of the stage.

private branch exchange n. Teleph. an exchange on private premises by which private lines may be connected to a public network; abbreviated PBX.

1904 N.Y. Electr. Handbk. (Amer. Inst. Electr. Engineers) 107 There are at the present time in New York over 5,000 of these *private branch exchanges, with a total of over 60,000 stations. 1911 W. AITKEN Man. Telephone xxi. 416 No hotel or warehouse of any standing is now considered complete without a private branch exchange connected to the ‘Central’ by a number of circuits. 1992 Philadelphia Inquirer 11 Oct. A24/3 The scam targets the multifunction switchboard used by most corporations{em}the private branch exchange, or PBX.

private business n. Eton College slang extra tuition.

1868 Times 25 June 10/4 Their tutor used to have a class list of his own for what was called *private business, where the ordinary studies of the school were made to give way in favour of English essays. 1900 J. S. FARMER Public School Word-bk. 158 Private-business,..extra work with the tutor. 1979 D. NEWSOME On Edge of Paradise ii. 87 Half-an-hour's preparation for his Private Business lecture on Napoleon. 1995 Evening Standard (Nexis) 14 June 22 Two nights a week boys take part in what the school regards as one of the jewels of its intellectual crown{em}‘private business’, or tutorials.

private call n. a personal telephone call to or from one's place of work.

1907 Times 2 Nov. 6/5 Is it likely, with the best intentions on the part of the principals, that these various *private calls of employés and servants get recorded by the subscriber? 1942 E. WAUGH Put out More Flags i. 52 There's a ridiculous woman on the line saying is this a private call? 1993 S. JAMES Love over Gold (BNC) 242 He hoped he at least sounded businesslike, as though it were not a private call.

private car n. (a) chiefly U.S., a privately owned and used railway carriage; (sometimes also) a railway carriage not available for public use; (b) a motor car owned and used privately, contrasted with a commercial vehicle.

1826 Times 6 July 2/2 Several *private cars, on which were ladies, were stopped opposite Colonel White's committee-room. 1832 Amer. Rail Road Jrnl. 1 495/3 Parties of twenty or more persons can be accomodated..with a private car. 1897 R. KIPLING Capt. Courageous ix. 186 Send ‘Constance’, private car, here, and arrange for special [train]. 1926 Brit. Gaz. 12 May 1/3 There were few private cars on the roads and nearly every vehicle was labelled ‘Food only’. 1990 Time 30 Apr. 23/1 Outside, Hanoi's narrow tree-lined streets are filled with bicycles and pedicabs, for private cars are a rarity in the city.

private collection n. a collection (esp. of works of art) in private possession.

1692 A. WOOD Athenæ Oxonienses II. 594/2 In the possession of the other is his Cabinet of Greek Medals, as curious as any *private collection whatsoever. 1751 T. SMOLLETT Peregrine Pickle II. lxix. 253 No private collection in Europe was equal to that of Sir Hans Sloane, which, exclusive of presents, had cost an hundred thousand pounds. 1864 TROLLOPE Can you forgive Her? I. x. 76 The library, which was the largest of the three, was a handsome chamber, and so filled as to make it well known in the University as one of the best private collections in that part of England. 1979 R. COX Auction i. 24 There were several Memlings in Austrian private collections. Stefan Zweig owned one. 1994 Victorian Soc. Ann. 1994 27 The exhibition made a profound impression on the young Charles Handley-Read, inspiring him to form the most important private collection of Victorian decorative art ever assembled.

private company n. a company in private ownership, as opposed to an organization owned or operated by the State; (now Law) a registered company prohibited from offering shares and debentures to the public, and usually having restrictions on membership (cf. sense A. 3a).

?1711 Some Queries relating to Present Dispute Trade to Afr. 1 Whether the Government cannot maintain Settlements abraod as well as a *Private Company? 1788 T. JEFFERSON Memorandum 14 Apr., At the village of Kaeferthal is a plantation of rhubarb, begun in 1769 by a private company. 1846 Jrnl. Statist. Soc. 9 212 The want of any general municipal authority has caused the relinquishment of the street lighting into the hands of private companies. 1908 Act 8 Edw. VII c. 69 §121 For the purposes of this Act the expression ‘private company’ means a company which by its articles{em}(a) Restricts the right to transfer its shares; and (b) Limits the number of its fifty; and (c) Prohibits any invitation to the public to subscribe for any shares or debentures of the company. 1928 Britain's Industr. Future (Liberal Industr. Inquiry) II. vii. 84 The most important existing legal distinction is between Public Companies..and Private Companies, limited to not more than 50 shareholders. 1948 Act 11 & 12 Geo. VI c. 38 §31 If at any time the number of members of a company is reduced, in the case of a private company, below two,..and it carries on business for more than six months while the number is so reduced, every person who is a member of the company during the time that it so carries on business..shall be severally liable for the payment of the whole debts of the company contracted during that time. 1996 Independent 23 Aug. I. 3/1 Growing numbers of agencies from private companies to central and local government hold ever-increasing amounts of..information about individuals.

private detective n. a detective who is engaged privately, as opposed to a member of an official police or security force.

[1859 All Year Round 11 June 154/2 The two private detective officers on duty [at the Bank of England] generally watch these careful proceedings with amusement and interest.] 1861 E. D. COOK Paul Foster's Daughter ii, A *private detective, ready to peer into anybody's cupboards. 1936 A. CHRISTIE ABC Murders v. 38 ‘Then you're not{em}anything to do with the police, sir?’ ‘I am a private detective.’ 1995 Independent 23 Nov. 12/7 The authority and the insurers said they would continue to use private detectives to examine claims.

private developer n. an individual who or company which develops land or property for personal profit.

1911 Nevada State Jrnl. 11 Aug. 3/7 The coal fields given over to *private developers on a lease hold system as simple as possible. 1934 Times 18 June 11/3 Whether public or private developers take the matter in hand, they will have to act quickly, for negotiations nowadays are speedy. 1972 Country Life 25 May 1330/1 Berkshire has given planning permission for some 18,000 houses, of which private developers build less than 3,000 new houses a year. 1991 Power Sept. 5/3 The island nation is trying to do all it can to attract private developers.

private development n. land or property development undertaken by a private individual or company; a property, plot of land, etc., developed in this way.

1910 Times 30 Apr. 9/1 The best picture in England of the effects of a *private development grant. 1924 H. MOSKOWITZ A. E. Smith xli. 271 In every spot in this State where by our past policy we have permitted private development, nobody has benefited but the individuals who have been lucky enough to secure the rights. 1961 Recreation Dec. 531/1 Areas should..have room around the edges to protect the values of the area from encroachment by private developments. 1992 Navajo Times (Window Rock, Arizona) Oct. 1/3 In his ruling to end the only quarter-century federal ban on public and private development on Indian lands in the country, [etc.]. 2004 Independent (Tabloid ed.) 15 May 20/1 The project has Britain's first combined head and power (CHP) system in a private development{em}an on-site power plant which uses waste and solar energy to provide electricity and central heating for the site.

private dick n. slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.) = private detective n.

1912 A. H. LEWIS Apaches of N.Y. vi. 128 But w'at wit' th' stores full of *private dicks a booster can't do much. 1946 E. O'NEILL Iceman Cometh I. 14 Yuh remember dey used to send down a private dick to give him the rush to a cure, but de lawyer tells Harry nix, de old lady's off of Willie for keeps dis time and he can go to hell. 1974 ‘E. MCBAIN’ Mugger ii. 14 Bert, on the money I make, I can't afford a private dick. 2002 Loaded July 85/1 Exeter-based Carole-Anne Westcott hired a private dick to track down her runaway husband.

private family n. a family in its personal capacity, esp. one occupying a private home; a family household as distinct from an institution, commercial establishment, etc.

1598 R. BARCKLEY Disc. Felicitie of Man IV. 305 Vngodlines troubleth the Church, Iniustice the common wealth, Luxuriousnes *priuate families. 1662 DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE Religious V. xxxviii. 555 Indeed happiness lives more in Cloysters than in Courts, or Cities, or private families. 1751 E. HAYWOOD Hist. Betsy Thoughtless I. ii. 20 Never did the mistress of a private family indulge herself, and those about her, with such a continual round of publick diversions. 1849 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. (1871) I. iii. 144 By the Petition of Right, it had been declared unlawful to quarter soldiers on private families. 1947 A. B. MEERING Handbk. for Nursery Nurses 1 The Nursery Nurse who prefers the care of individual children..may become a nanny in a private family. 2004 Frederick (Maryland News-Post) 25 Jan. D7/1 Several churches, private families, individuals, businesses and service organizations.

private finance initiative n. (also with capital initials) Brit. a government scheme under which private sector finance is used to supplement public sector investment in public services, first proposed in 1989, with official guidelines being issued by the Treasury in 1992; abbreviated PFI.

1989 Hansard Commons 22 May 423 The Government will keep up the momentum of the private finance initiative. 2002 Metro (London ed.) 20 Sept. 4/4 Gordon Brown..said it would be ‘completely unacceptable’ to suspend the Private Finance Initiative, arguing it would deny the public the services they needed.

private function n. a private party or other social event.

1888 Times 3 Dec. 9/5 They held a sort of *private function. 1948 Sunday Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 17 Oct. 9/3 An opportunity may be made to hear him [sc. Paul Robeson] at a private function. 1995 K. ISHIGURO Unconsoled viii. 98 If no one had encouraged him, I'm sure he'd have been happy to melt into the background, give the odd recital at a private function, nothing more.

private highway n. = private road n.

1724 Act to inclose Common Fields Sunningwell cum Bayworth 2 The said Commissioners..shall ascertain and appoint the publick and *private Highways and Roads already made, or to be made..under their Hands and Seals. 1894 Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 21 Dec. 8/2 He argued, that their erection would convert a public highway into a private highway for the exclusive use of the railway company. 1950 Daily Independent Jrnl. (Calif.) 22 July 3/5 [He] made a left turn into a private highway and was sideswiped by the car following. 2004 R. H. BUCKMAN Building Knowledge-driven Organization vi. 85, I do not understand why any company would try to create its own network in today's electronic world, any more than it would try to build a private highway to truck parts from one plant to another.

private hospital n. a hospital which treats only private patients, and which is not funded by the State or a public body.

1763 J. BELL Trav. from St. Petersburg II. xii. 106 The missionaries also send out people to take up such [children] as have been neglected, who are carried to a *private hospital, maintained at their charge. 1827 Times 14 June 2/2 As a general system, he..preferred public asylums to private hospitals, for lunatic paupers. 1903 Merck's Ann. Rep. 17 183 Veronal has been thoroughly tested in a large number of noted public and private hospitals. 1990 Hindu (Madras) 16 Jan. 9/6 Maani Madhava Chakyar died at a private hospital in Ottapalam near here on Monday.

private hotel n. a residential hotel or boarding house, usually privately owned, which receives guests only by private arrangement.

1796 Times 22 June 1/2 (advt.) J. Morris..fitted up the same in the first stile of elegance, as a *private hotel for families and gentlemen. 1820 M. EDGEWORTH Let. 14 Nov. in M. Edgeworth in France & Switzerland (1979) 274 The Duchesse d'Uzès..has the finest private hotel in Paris. 1936 N. COWARD Fumed Oak 41 Mrs. Rockett: I can always go to a boarding-house or a private hotel. Doris: Catch you! 1962 F. J. BULL & C. RICHARDSON Hotel & Catering Law (rev. ed.) iii. 37 The private hotel proprietor reserves to himself the right to pick and choose his guests, and does not hold himself out as willing to receive anyone who calls. He makes a separate contract, either written or verbal, with his guests. 1992 M. WARNER Indigo (BNC) 130 Madame Davenant kept a clean and respectable and quiet private hotel, which is why it had been chosen for Miranda and why she liked it.

private income n. income derived from private sources, as investments, property, inheritance, etc.; unearned income; = private means n.

1725 L. ECHARD Hist. Revol. II. i. 117 By sparing her *private Income as to her self, she became eminent in her Charities. 1788 in Federalist Papers xx. 122 His revenue, exclusive of his private income, amounts to 300,000 florins. 1897 Lime Springs (Iowa) Sun 2 July 3/3 His wife will make him a small allowance from her private income. 1952 M. LASKI Village iii. 65 Because she's got a private income no one ever expected her to go out and take a job. 1991 P. BARKER Regeneration iv. 31 I've no private income to tide me over.

private inquiry n. work undertaken by a private detective; usu. attrib.

[1850 C. DICKENS Househ. Words 27 July 410/1 Sergeant Fendall, a light-haired, well-spoken, polite person, is a prodigious hand at pursuing private inquiries of a delicate nature.] 1856 Illustr. Times 2 Feb. 70/3 The design was conceived of establishing a *private inquiry office with a view of ‘preventing and detecting crime’. 1874 M. CLARKE His Nat. Life III. xxii. 331, I dabbled a little in the Private Inquiry line of business. 1892 R. KIPLING & W. BALESTIER Naulahka xvii. 204 See here, young woman, do you run a private inquiry agency? 1922 Kelly's Directory Liverpool 1181/3 Ramage & Kelly private inquiry agents. 1987 D. LINDSAY Haunted Woman 185 The police were out of the question, and private inquiry agents were not much better.

private international law n. the branch of law which deals with cases of private law involving a foreign element (as the fulfilment of contracts, recognition of marriages and other relationships contracted abroad, etc.), especially in determining the extent to which courts of one's own country have jurisdiction over such cases and whether the domestic or foreign law should be applied by the court to resolving the issue.

1834 J. STORY Comm. Conflict of Laws i. 9 The jurisprudence, then, arising from the conflict of the laws of different nations, in their actual application to modern commerce and intercourse, is a most interesting and important branch of public law... This branch of public law may be fitly denominated *private international law, since it is chiefly seen and felt in its application to the common business of private persons. 1861 R. PHILLIMORE Comm. Internat. Law IV. p. iii, This volume is devoted to the consideration of Jus Gentium{em}Private International Law, or Comity: that is, strictly speaking, the law which ought to govern the legal relations of individuals not being the subject of the State which administers the law. 1938 G. C. CHESHIRE Private Internat. Law (ed. 2) i. 22 The expression ‘Private International Law’, coined by Story in 1834,..and used on the Continent by Foelix in 1838,..has been adopted by Westlake and Foote and most French authors. The chief criticism directed against its use is its implication that the subject forms a branch of International Law. There is, of course, no affinity between Private and Public International Law. The latter comprises those universally accepted customs which are recognized by States in their public relations with each other; the former consists of rules which the Courts of each territorial jurisdiction follow when a dispute containing some foreign element arises between private persons. 1992 J. M. KELLY Short Hist. Western Legal Theory viii. 346 Mancini's theory had no large-scale success: except within the more modest area of private international law.

private investigator n. = private detective n.

[1874 W. G. SUMNER Hist. Amer. Currency 75 The banks were as recalcitrant about giving statistics, either to the Secretary of the Treasury or private investigators, as about any of their other duties.] 1908 North Eastern Reporter 86 375 Also Mrs. Eva Herndon, a *private investigator for the United States postal authorities, who testified, in substance, that she had a talk with Mrs. Hagenow at her home on January 22, 1907. 1940 R. CHANDLER Farewell, my Lovely iii. 21 Philip Marlowe, Private Investigator. One of those guys, huh? 1995 i-D Aug. 48/1 McDonalds sent private investigators to London Greenpeace meetings to sniff out individuals to press charges against.

private joke n. a joke understood only by a select few.

1789 Times 29 Oct. 2/1 The serious business of the piece is too often disgraced, and the ‘cunning of the Scene’ destroyed by their unmeaning merriment and *private jokes. 1875 Harper's Mag. June 105/1 He was not wanting in a fund of wholesome playfulness, and enjoyed his private jokes with each horse, cow, and hen. 1905 BARONESS ORCZY Scarlet Pimpernel ii. 11 The two little kitchen-maids bustled around..giggling over some private jokes of their own, whenever Miss Sally's back was turned for a moment. 1995 N. HORNBY High Fidelity (1996) iv. 57 I'd want her to write songs at home, and ask me what I thought of them, and maybe include one of our private jokes in the lyrics.

private judgement n. personal opinion (esp. in religious matters), as opposed to the acceptance of a statement or doctrine on authority or on the basis of public opinion.

1565 T. STAPLETON Fortresse of Faith f. 6, He interpreteth it after his owne liking and *priuat iudgement. 1656 T. BLOUNT Acad. Eloquence 11 The more learned have avoided this kinde of flourish, lest their writings should savour more of the general humor, then of private judgement. 1718 T. HERNE (title) Defense of private judgment. 1841 T. CARLYLE On Heroes iv. 201 Liberty of private judgment, if we will consider it, must at all times have existed in the world. 1959 P. DEVLIN Enforcement of Morals 9 Are morals always a matter for private judgement? 2002 Rev. Politics 64 692 The great danger comes in turning all religious questions over to the private judgment of individuals.

private-label adj. designating a product manufactured or packaged for sale under the name of the retailer rather than that of the manufacturer; cf. own-label adj. and n. at OWN adj. and pron. Compounds 1.

1923 Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pa.) 19 Jan. 7/5 No third-rate *private label goods are sold at our stores. 1961 Economist 11 Mar. 984/1 There are the usual ‘private-label’ teas, flour, butter, and dried cereals, fruit and pulses; besides these, private label jams and biscuits are quite common and several companies market their own canned peas, soups, canned fruit and canned vegetables; there is even a private-label pine essence. 1995 Guardian 14 June I. 17/5 Private label goods are sold by retailers as alternatives to branded products.

private law n. the branch of law concerning relations and dealings between private individuals; see quot. 1923.

1702 G. MACKENZIE Parainesis Pacifica 10 The third Branch, viz. that of *Private Law, cannt [sic] afford the least Obstruction. 1773 J. ERSKINE Inst. Law Scotl. I. 9 Public law is that which hath more immediately in view the public weal... Private is that which is chiefly intended for ascertaining the civil rights of individuals. The private law of Scotland is to be the proper subject of this treatise. 1887 Jrnl. Hellenic Stud. 8 127 Thus the difference between the two cases is the whole difference between private law and public, between Torts and Crimes. 1923 W. J. BYRNE Dict. Eng. Law 519/2 Private or civil law deals with those relations between individuals with which the State is not directly concerned; as in the relations between husband and wife, parent and child,..contracts, torts, trusts, legacies. 1991 T. ZUBER et al. Canad. Law (ed. 5) i. 14 Private law includes law that is concerned with the regulation of relations between private citizens.

private life n. a person's domestic or personal life, as distinct from that relating to his or her employment, official position, public image, etc.

?a1475 (?a1425) tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl.) (1872) IV. 419 Galba Seruius..reigned after Nero vij monethes; The *priuate lyfe [Trev. prive lyf; L. vita privata] of whom was noble. 1526 R. WHITFORD tr. Martiloge f. cxxxiv, He resygned his crowne, & lyued a holy pryuate lyfe. 1660 G. MACKENZIE Aretina II. 205 They see the poverty of a private life, but are strangers to its contentment, and contemns its lownesse without weighing its security. ?1790 J. M. ADAIR Unanswerable Arguments against Abolition Slave Trade v. 173, I think planters are much too remiss on this head; owing to their not employing a little attention to the private life and manners of their slaves. 1843 DICKENS Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) xvi. 193 A full account of the Ball..with the Sewer's own particulars of the private lives of all the ladies that was there! 1943 J. B. PRIESTLEY Daylight on Sat. xxii. 169 Her own private life, now in ruins, insisted upon claiming her attention, and she could not pretend to herself that it was less important than the private lives of all the other women in the factory. 1992 Independent 27 Jan. 20/2 A sense of honour and a degree of self-mastery in private life are virtues in public men and women.

private line n. Teleph. and Telegr. (a) a line that is permanently for the exclusive use of the subscriber or that is not connected to a public network; (b) = private wire n. (b).

1852 *Private lines [see sense A. 8a]. 1885 List of Subscribers (United Telephone Co.) p. vii, The Charge for Private Lines is at a fixed annual rental, payable in advance, varying with the situation and the distance apart of the points connected. 1927 C. W. WILMAN Man. Automatic Telephony vi. 55 This wire is comparable with the test wire in a manual system inasmuch as it indicates whether a particular line is free or busy... It is..known as the private line (because it prevents intrusion on a busy trunk). 1942 A. CHRISTIE Body in Library vi. 59, I had a private line put in connecting my bedroom with my office. 1993 Macworld Dec. 189/1 Dial-up routers let users connect LANs over the wide area using switched services instead of costly private lines.

private man n. now hist. = private soldier n.

1690 J. MACKENZIE Siege London-derry 47/2 Serjeants, Corporals, Drummers, and *private Men 2d. per diem each, besides Bread. 1796 S. PEGGE Anonymiana (1809) 164 Application..on behalf of a private man that had deserted from an independent company just as they were embarking for North America. 1844 Regul. & Ord. Army 176 All the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, Drummers, and Private Men, who may be at Home, are to be accounted for. 1974 L. E. IVERS Brit. Drums on Southern Frontier vi. 79 There were six companies, each of which included a captain, lieutenant, ensign, four sergeants, four corporals, two drummers, and one hundred private men who enlisted for seven years.

private man of war n. now hist. = PRIVATEER n. 1; cf. private ship of war n.

1646 MS. Orders & Instruct. (Adm. Libr.) 22 Instruccions and a fiat in the usuall form were this day signed for Capt. Wm. Davies employing of the ship the 3 kings of dover being of 250 tons and 17 guns as a *private man of warre in her way of merchandize. 1675 G. CAREW Severall Considerations offered to Parliament 7 The Zelanders are a people, that upon all occations, serves for private men of warr against England. 1754 J. LODGE Peerage of Ireland I. 391 Kid had a Commission from the Admiralty, as a private Man of War. 1857 Rep. Commerc. Relations U.S. (U.S. Dept. of State) IV. 83 There are only three circumstances when a foreign ship can be made French: they are, 1st. When a prize on the enemy by state ships, or private men-of-war [etc.] 1985 William & Mary Q. 42 361 Ideally, the time at sea for each private man-of-war should be determined, but though colonial newspapers reported hundreds of captures, they did not usually state the length of time the cruisers had been on the hunt.

private means n. income or assets derived from private sources; = private income n.

1805 Times 20 Mar. 2/2 Mr. Fordyce had brought his salary, and other personal *private means, to the public account. 1855 W. SARGENT Braddock's Exped. 166 To be reminded that such things as a Press of private means for the benefit of the State still existed. 1994 L. GORDON Charlotte Brontë (1995) i. 14 Mr Brontë's failures to secure another wife with private means..had practical consequences for his five daughters.

private motoring n. motoring in a privately owned vehicle.

1916 Times 28 June 12/3 It could not be said that the object of the new regulations was either to curtail *private motoring or to raise revenue. 1992 B. ELTON Gridlock (BNC) 182 When that happens it's going to revolutionize private motoring.

private motorist n. a motorist who drives a privately owned vehicle.

1907 Times 8 Aug. 13/2 The *private motorist has concluded..that France and Germany would, as hitherto, take the lead in initiating any scientific or technical advance when the progress of the industry required it. 1993 Computing 24 June 31/4 It could also be accessed by private motorists via in-car units.

private notice question n. a question put before the House of Commons by prior private arrangement with the Speaker and the person questioned.

[1871 Hansard Commons 27 Feb. 941, I wish to ask some questions of the Prime Minister, of which circumstances prevented me from giving any other than a private Notice to him.] 1913 Hansard Commons 21 Jan. 225 *Private notice question... May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question of which I have given him private notice. 1964 L. A. ABRAHAM & S. C. HAWTREY Parl. Dict. (ed. 2) 168 On specially urgent matters, ‘private notice questions’ may be asked after the end of the time allotted by the standing orders to questions for oral answer. A member who wishes to avail himself of this privilege must give notice of the terms of his question to the minister and to the Speaker not later than twelve o'clock on the day on which he is to ask it. 2001 R. HOLT Second amongst Equals (2002) iii. 88 On his first day in the new job and with a hostile private notice question to deal with (from Michael Foot), Jenkins insouciantly took himself off on a lunchtime engagement.

private number n. Teleph. (a) a number that is ex-directory; (b) a number at a private address rather than business premises.

1913 Times 28 Nov. 6/1 From my office the operator was instructed to call my *private number in the West-end. 1933 D. L. SAYERS Murder must Advertise viii. 129 He was not in the telephone-book, but his private number would doubtless be on the telephone-clerk's desk. 1969 N. FREELING Tsing-Boum xiii. 95 Good morning. Police Judiciaire!.. I'm at a private number in Marseilles; will you..clear me a direct line. 1992 J. MANSELL Forgotten Fire (BNC), She would ring Julius at home, with messages that were only just important enough for her to justify ringing his private number.

private parts n. the genitals; also in extended use.

1623 G. MARKHAM Country Contentm. i. 35 (margin) The diseases of the *priuate parts. 1723 Oncenia (ed. 8) 159 Tying a string about my neck, and the other end to my private parts. 1785 F. GROSE Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue at Commodity, A woman's commodity; the private parts of a modest woman, and the public parts of a prostitute. 1885-8 C. H. FAGGE Princ. & Pract. Med. (ed. 2) I. 188 She mentioned..that she had severe pain in micturition, and that her private parts were swollen. a1930 D. H. LAWRENCE Last Poems (1932) 157 The reddened limbs..and the half-hidden private parts. 1971 Farmer & Stockbreeder 23 Feb. 30/1 Major Ogilvie recalls some mothers feeling embarrassed at having to see the ‘private parts’ of an animal's body{em}like teats and udders{em}being handled by a man. 1992 S. ARMITAGE Kid 70 And his shoulder-blades were two butchers at the meat-cleaving competition and his belly-button was the Falkland Islands and his private parts were the Bermuda triangle and his backside was a priest hole.

private patient n. a patient who pays for treatment rather than receiving it free or under subsidy from the State or a public body.

1754 *Private patient [see sense A. 2b(b)]. 1801 Med. Jrnl. 5 7 Those to whom I have communicated the infection out of the Hospital, or among my private patients. 1860 F. NIGHTINGALE Notes on Nursing vi. 39 Generally, the only rule of the private patient's diet is what the nurse has to give. 1914 A. BENNETT Price of Love xii. 256 In those days of State health insurance all doctors were too be of assistance to private patients. 1992 Which? Aug. 428/3 You may sometimes be better off in an NHS hospital, whether as an NHS patient or a private patient in a pay-bed.

private placement n. Finance (orig. U.S.) the sale of stocks, bonds, or securities directly to a private investor (often without using an intermediary), rather than in a public offering; (also) stocks, etc., sold in this way.

1925 N.Y. Times 28 Mar. 21/3 (heading) Kuhn, Loeb & Co..takes $4,735,000 railroad bonds for *private placement. 1939 N.Y. Times 2 Nov. 33/3 From the short term this appears to give borrowers a great advantage in the private placement market, an advantage which they could never find in direct sales to the public. 1951 Times 24 Jan. 6/7 South Africa had also arranged for the private placement with eight American commercial banks of $10m. of the Union's promissory notes. 2000 Red Herring May 192/2 We haven't made any decision yet as to whether we'll go public; we've just made a desicion to issue a private placement.

private playhouse n. = PRIVATE HOUSE n. 2; (later also) any theatre owned and run by a private individual, esp. one staging performances for invited audiences only.

1609 T. DEKKER Guls Horne-booke vi. 28 Whether therefore the gatherers of the publique or priuate *Play-house stand to receiue the afternoones rent, let our Gallant (hauing paid it) presently aduance himselfe vp to the Throne of the Stage. 1795 M. CONCANEN & A. MORGAN Hist. & Antiq. of Parish of St. Saviour's, Southwark 200 Yet it should seem that persons were suffered to sit on the stage only in the private playhouses (such as Blackfriars &c.) where the audience was more select and of a higher class. 1829 J. H. REYNOLDS One, Two, Three, Four, Five I. ii. 18, I seek in vain for elegant recreation; no private play-houses, no debating society. 1910 Mansfield (Ohio) News 30 Aug. 2/7 Recently D'Annunzio gave a performance at the private playhouse of a friend of his in Paris. 1998 S. DAVID Prince of Pleasure (2000) v. 132 He spent more than £60,000 on a private playhouse in which he would indulge his passion for drama.

private practice n. work undertaken for a fee for a private client or patient; a privately run business which provides a service for paying clients; cf. sense A. 2b(b).

1724 Philos. Trans. 1722-3 (Royal Soc.) 32 213 The..Regard for the Good of Mankind, which you have always manifested, as well in your extensive *private Practice as in that publick Post, which you have so long and so usefully fill'd, must affect you [etc.]. 1843 R. J. GRAVES Syst. Clin. Med. ix. 99 In private practice the physician is called at an early period of the disease. 1945 Fortune Mar. 109/2 Tommy Corcoran, no longer part of the janissariat, is back in the law, with a private practice in Washington. 1967 Brit. Jrnl. Psychiatry 113 1052/2 Private practice is simply a method of making a lucrative racket out of pampering or swindling those who can afford to pay. 2000 Building Design 18 Feb. 26/4 (advt.) Dynamic private practice with an established list of blue-chip clients requires proactive and driven professionals.

private press n. a small privately-owned printing and publishing house (now usu. one issuing small print runs of books embodying higher standards of production than those of commercial publishers).

1643 in D. Neal Hist. Puritans (1855) 456/2 The Company of Stationers and the Committee of Examinations are required to make strict inquiry after *private presses, and to search all suspected shops and warehouses for unlicensed books and pamphlets. 1687 A. BEHN Luckey Chance IV. i. 47 Then he keeps a private Press and prints your Amsterdam and Leyden Libels. 1834 J. MARTIN Bibliogr. Catal. Bks. Privately Printed p. v, The second portion of the work, consisting of an account of the publications from literary clubs, and private presses. 1900 Library 1 407 Since the days when Horace Walpole started as a master-printer at Strawberry Hill quite a number of book-lovers have amused themselves with the management, and occasionally with the actual working, of a private press. 1993 Dict. National Biogr.: Missing Persons (BNC) 65/2 He published on American history and established his own private press, the Guyon House Press.

private property n. property owned by an individual person, company, etc.

1642 J. M. Reply to Answer 40 It must be agreed that the State hath an interest Paramount in every mans *private property. 1760 C. LENNOX Lady's Museum II. 527 All matters of importance, or relative to private property, were to be laid before him. 1868 M. PATTISON Suggestions Acad. Organisation §1. 7 A great deal of foolish bluster was talked about interference with private property. 1997 Economist 1 Feb. 57/1 If..the government decided to put a camp-ground on part of the private property, the group would first have to agree and then buy back the grazing rights from Mr Bass.

private residence n. = PRIVATE HOUSE n. 1.

1723 Impartial Hist. Peter Alexowitz 65 He pitch'd upon the place for his Retreat, or *private Residence. 1797 A. RADCLIFFE Italian II. vii. 234 She hoped, therefore, that he had only been sent to some private residence belonging to his family. 1836 DICKENS Pickwick Papers (1837) xxi. 222 At length, late one night, Heyling..appeared at his attorney's private residence, and sent up word that a gentleman wished to see him instantly. 1974 P. LOVESEY Invitation to Dynamite Party iii. 34 ‘There was a second Sir Watkin Wynn's residence.’ ‘A private residence? What have they got against Sir Watkin Wynn?’ 1998 L. FORBES Bombay Ice (1999) 76 The family has to slum it on the top floor, but even so it's still the tenth largest private residence in the world.

private road n. a road maintained at private (rather than public) expense, to which public access may or may not be limited, (now) esp. one giving access to private property.

1652 G. FIDGE Wit for Mony vii. sig. A6, Hind having gotten a good purchase in Gold past away the day very merrily, & towards night rides to an Inne which stood in a *private Roade. 1775 Edinb. Advertiser (Electronic text) 21 Apr., Coming to a drawbridge..he desired that it might be immediately let down; but they refused; saying it was a private road, and that he had no authority to demand passage that way. 1838 R. S. SURTEES Jorrocks's Jaunts 55 A private road and a line of gates through fields now greet the eyes of our M'Adamisers. 1903 Times 16 Mar. 4/2 The club decided to make an effort to obtain before next winter a private road, instead of using, as heretofore, the public road to Klosters. 2001 J. O'BRIEN At Home in Heart of Appalachia xiii. 204 At the end of the hardtop, I take a short trail to the private road that curves down to the telescopes.

private room n. (in a club, hotel, etc.) a room which may be hired for private use; (in a hospital) a room which affords privacy for a patient, esp. such a room provided on a fee-paying basis.

1797 T. HOLCROFT Adventures Hugh Trevor V. xi. 186 The place of meeting was a *private room in a coffee-house. 1824 SCOTT Redgauntlet III. vii. 197 Walking into the inn, [he] demanded from the landlord breakfast and a private room. 1878 Times 21 Nov. 6/5 The ‘No. 8’ block, on the west of the hospital,..had the means of providing for upwards of 60 paying patients in wards and private rooms. 1920 ‘SAPPER’ Bull-dog Drummond 7 Have we ever had staying in the hotel a man called le Comte de Guy?.. Has he ever fed here, or taken a private room? 1994 R. PRESTON Hot Zone Ebola River 87 At the Ngaliema Hospital in Kinshasa, Nurse Mayinga had been put into a private room, which was accessible through a kind of entry room, a gray zone, where the nurses and staff were supposed to put on bioprotective gear before they entered. 1995 Guardian 16 Feb. I. 10/7 Karaoke parlours..comprise a warren of private rooms in which customers sing to the words of tunes played on television screens.

private school n. a fee-paying school run for the personal profit of the proprietors; a school which does not receive state funding and is not subject to the state education authority; (in quot. 1857) a preparatory school (cf. sense C. 6).

1574 Priuate schoole [see sense A. 2b(a)]. 1676 Cramond Kirk Session II. 5 Nov., Considereing how much the public schoole at the church is prejudged by privat schooles. 1751 T. SMOLLETT Peregrine Pickle III. lxxxviii. 66, I was the only child of a man..who indulged me..with..paternal affection; and when I was six years old, sent me to a private school, where I stayed till my age was doubled. 1857 T. HUGHES Tom Brown's School Days I. iii. 67 A private school, where he went when he was nine years old. 1914 C. MACKENZIE Sinister St. II. III. iii. 547, I don't think it is snobbishness... It's a throw back to primitive life in a private school. 1997 N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 29 June 24/1 dean of humanities at St. Ann's, a private school in Brooklyn, where he has taught history for 25 years.

private schoolmaster n. a personal tutor; a schoolmaster at a private school.

1588 W. KEMPE Educ. Children sig. E4v, Some heere do counsell the Father to seeke out a *priuat Schoolemaister for his child. a1691 R. BAXTER Life in Reliquiæ Baxterianæ (1696) 96 A Man of great sincerity and zeal, and desire to do good, and devotedness to God,..falling into the Life of a private Schoolmaster. 1857 T. HUGHES Tom Brown's School Days I. iii. 69 Were I a private schoolmaster. 1930 E. WAUGH Vile Bodies viii. 143 My private schoolmaster used to say, ‘If a thing's worth doing at all, it's worth doing well.’ 1988 R. SYMONDS Alternative Saints (BNC) 102 He remained in Wales as a private schoolmaster until he became chaplain and tutor to the family of Lord Carbery.

private seal n. Obs. = PRIVY SEAL n. 3a.

1440 Chancery Proc. Ser. C1 File 9 No. 447 William Gargrave of Holme and Cristofere Banastre of Merton, Esquiers, haue ben ij tymes send for by the kyngis *priuat seel at the Instaunce and costages of your said suppliaunt. 1531 in Sel. Cases Crt. Requests (1898) 33 To graunte vnto your seid Orator your most dredd wrytte of pryuatte seale to be dyrected vnto the seid abbot.

private secretary n. (a) a secretary employed by a government minister, dealing with official correspondence, etc.; (b) a secretary in the employ of a particular individual, rather than of a society, department, etc.

1677 S. PEPYS Portugal Hist. 76 Gaspar de Faria, *private Secretary, by order of the King, put into his hands oftentimes papers of greatest Concerns. 1773 R. JEPHSON Let. 2 Mar. in D. Garrick Private Corr. (1831) I. 530 Our friend Tighe is much engaged in his office of Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, but is getting better health and more strength every day. 1891 W. FRASER Disraeli & his Day (ed. 2) 42 Mr Algernon Greville became, some years afterwards, Private Secretary to the Duke. 1930 J. B. PRIESTLEY Angel Pavement v. 207, I can't bear those private secretary jobs. Yours is one of them, isn't it? 1991 Sanity Jan. 7/1 He became private (i.e. political) secretary to two government ministers in the Home Office.

private secretaryship n. the office or position of private secretary.

1789 Hartly House, Calcutta II. xx. 116 The peace-offering..was no less than an appointment to a *private secretaryship. 1812 Times 16 Apr. 2/3 This private secretaryship, with the salary annexed, is an after-device. 1880 E. W. HAMILTON Diary 25 Apr. (1972) I. 3 Horace Seymour and Henry Primrose are the two between whom the other private secretaryship lies. 1954 K. AMIS Lucky Jim iv. 48 Our influencial friend will shortly be declaring his private secretaryship vacant. 1981 Times 25 Mar. 14/1 The interconnection of junior ministers and parliamentary private secretaryships is striking.

private sector n. that part of an economy, industry, etc., which is privately owned and free from direct state control.

1930 H. J. STENNING tr. A. Feiler Russ. Exper. 89 In this sphere the programme contemplates a determined onslaught on the *private sector for the benefit of the socialized, the nationalized, or the co-operative sector. 1996 Outlook (New Delhi) 28 Aug. 36/1 This year's Olympics taught the Americans that there's a flip side to relying solely on the private sector.

private service n. service to an individual rather than to the community, state, etc.; (in later use) spec. domestic service in a private house.

a1652 R. BROME Eng. Moor (1659) III. i. 39 And though I outwardly appear your Drudge, 'Tis fit I have a Maid for *private service. 1718 C. ANCILLON Eunuchism Display'd I. i. 7 He might have none to attend him in his private Service but Eunuchs. 1843 DICKENS Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) vii. 85 All them trades I thought of was a deal too jolly; there was no credit at all to be got in any of 'em. I must look for a private service... I might be brought out a serious family. 1934 D. L. SAYERS Nine Tailors 139 Deacon was a waiter in some club... He wanted to try private service. 1978 M. WARD & N. WARD Home in Twenties & Thirties 38/1 There inexorable reduction in the number of people engaged in private service.

private ship of war n. now hist. = PRIVATEER n. 1a; cf. private man of war n.

1702 tr. P. de la Court True Interest Republick Holland & W.-Friesland II. i. 207 *Private Ships of War [were] by great Rewards perswaded to take and destroy the Enemys Ships. 1804 Times 3 May 3/3 Those beautiful private ships of war the Sir Thomas Trowbridge, of 16 guns, and the Sir John Colpays, of 14 guns..have been surveyed by the proper officers. 1988 P. O'BRIAN Let. of Marque (1992) i. 7 Stephen Maturin had bought her as a private ship of war, a letter of marque, to cruise upon the enemy.

private soldier n. an ordinary soldier of the lowest rank; = sense C. 10; cf. common soldier at COMMON adj. 12b.

1566 W. PAINTER tr. O. Landi Delectable Demaundes III. f. 68, He knewe well that by his natiuitie, he was appointed to be generall of armies, and not a simple souldior: wherfore he behaued him selfe according to the Maiestie of that office, and not like a *priuate souldior. 1579 L. DIGGES & T. DIGGES Arithm. Mil. Treat. 152 They can doe no more than Privat Souldiors. 1698 E. LUDLOW Mem. I. 192 keep the private soldiers, for they would no longer be called common soldiers, from running into greater extravagancies and disorders. 1760 C. JOHNSTONE Chrysal II. iv. 177 A man, in the habit of a private soldier, threw himself prostrate across his way, crying, ‘Mercy! O great king! have mercy on the sufferings of a wretch in despair, and shew yourself the substitute of heaven by impartial justice.’ 1898 E. J. HARDY in United Service Mag. Mar. 646 Another expression, which is far more objectionable [than the name ‘Tommy Atkins’], is to speak of a ‘common soldier’ instead of a private soldier. 1992 G. M. FRASER Quartered Safe out Here p. xiv, I must emphasise that at private soldier level you frequently have no idea where you are, or precisely how you got there, let alone why.

private trade n. trade carried on by an individual for his or her personal profit.

[1601 J. WHEELER Treat. Commerce 46 Diuers of the Company had..erected vnto themselues a priuate, irregular, and stragling Trade.] 1612 J. SMITH Map of Virginia 50 There was ten-times more care, to maintaine their damnable and *private trade, then to provide for the Colony things that were necessary. 1736 H. FIELDING Pasquin IV. i. 51 But Priests, and Lawyers, and Physicians made These general Goods to each a private Trade. 1821 G. SIMPSON Jrnl. 8 Jan. in Publ. Hudson's Bay Rec. Soc. (1938) I. 212 Chastellan & Lamallice..are renewing their old practice of carrying on Private Trade with the Indians. 1991 C. ANDERSON Grain p. i, The so-called ‘private’ companies{em}those companies in the hands of private trade as opposed to the farmer-owned wheat pools.

private trader n. a person who carries on trade for his or her personal profit.

1616 in W. Foster Lett. received by E. India Co. (1901) V. 119 With the intelligence concerning the *private traders of Captain Downton's merchants. 1776 A. SMITH Inq. Wealth of Nations V. I. iii, The competition of the two companies with the private said to have well-nigh ruined both. 1831 J. F. COOPER Water-Witch I. 142 Prudence is a cardinal quality in a private trader; and it is a quality that I esteem in Master Skimmer, next to his punctuality. 1991 South Aug. 95/4 From time to time the government tries to take the video-business in hand but it cannot compete against private traders.

private trading n. = private trade n.

1640 H. MILL Nights Search xlvii. 233 She keeps her *private trading, To help at need; her husbands trade is fading. 1739 LD. HARDWICKE in Rep. Cases Chancery (1765) I. xci. 546 For the benefit of the Captain, who staid there six days merely for the sake of private trading. a1894 R. L. STEVENSON In South Seas (1896) IV. vii. 369 Tembinok' had two brothers. One, detected in private trading, was banished. 1929 Times 26 Feb. 17/5 He courageously scrapped his own Bolshevist economic theories in 1921 and reinaugurated private trading. 1990 Farmer's Weekly (Perth) 11 Oct. 25/3 (advt.) Private trading through Grain Pool Permits is possible for domestic consumption.

private treaty n. a form of property sale effected by a private agreement between the seller and a bidder, rather than by auction, public tender, etc.; see also quot. 1973.

1858 Estates Gaz. 16 Aug. 16/1 (advt.) To be sold, by *private treaty, a substantial and well-built house. 1922 V. SACKVILLE-WEST Heir i. 19 Are we to try for auction or private treaty? Personally I think the house at any rate will go by private treaty. 1973 P. WESTLAND & A. RODWAY Place of your Own i. 11/2 In Scotland..houses are more often sold ‘by private treaty’. This way, the owner places a reserve, or ‘upset’ price on the property and invites those interested to make offers, in writing, by a specified date. On that date, the offers are examined, and the property will usually go to the highest bidder. An offer made this way is binding by law, unless you withdraw it before it is formally accepted... Some properties in England and Wales are offered for sale on these terms. 1988 Home Finder May 51/1 Ask the auctioneer if offers will be considered prior to auction, in other words, whether you can purchase by private treaty.

private view n. a viewing (now esp. of an exhibition) to which the general public is not admitted; = private viewing n.

1706 T. D'URFEY Wonders in Sun III. i. 43 Ambassador from the Kingdom of the Birds; who, thro' Curiosity desiring a *private View of you, and being gratify'd, has strangely accus'd ye of Murder upon one of the Brothers of Plumply Lord Pheasant. 1746 N.Y. Evening Post 29 Dec. (advt.) If any Gentlemen or Ladies, hath a Mind to have a private View of the same, they may, by giving two Hours Warning before hand. 1862 W. SANDBY Hist. Royal Acad. Arts II. 240 The art-critics for the newspapers, etc., were admitted to the private view of the exhibition. 1996 Independent 14 Oct. I. 3/4 He is seen in the film coaching staff for the private view of the William Morris exhibition.

private viewer n. a person attending a private viewing.

1897 Daily News 28 Apr. 6/6 The galleries..soon to be refilled by the critics, the *private viewers, and the outside crowd. 1997 Northern Echo (Nexis) 19 Mar. 5 We aren't interested in private viewers who have a couple of pirates in their collection. We want to catch the big fish.

private viewing n. = private view n.

1898 Westm. Gaz. 28 Apr. 5/3 On the whole the *private viewing ladies have had the excellent taste of coming in the morning in morning dress. 1965 Observer 28 Feb. 2/6 The occasion was the private viewing of the most important show of the New York art season. 1991 Choice Jan. 67/2 All include a private viewing of the exhibition beforehand.

private war n. a war fought by a restricted number of participants from personal or private motives; also in extended use.

1548 E. HALL Chron.: Henry VII f. lvii, He more detested & abhorred intestine and *priuate warre, then death or any thynge more terrible. a1599 SPENSER View State Ireland 197 in J. Ware Two Hist. Ireland (1633), The English Lords and Gentlemen, who then had great possessions in Ireland, began thorough pride and insolency, to make private warres one against another. 1728 E. CHAMBERS Cycl. at Treve de Dieu, The Disorders and Licences of private Wars..oblig'd the Bishops of France to forbid such Violences within certain Times. 1866 C. M. YONGE Dove in Eagle's Nest I. p. vi, An offended nobleman, having sent a Fehdebrief to his adversary, was thenceforward at liberty to revenge himself by a private war. 1974 ‘G. BLACK’ Golden Cockatrice xi. 194 A killing that was one incident in the continuing private war the Russians and the Chinese have been waging against each other. 1987 ‘J. GASH’ Moonspender (1988) vii. 76, I don't believe that you..suddenly decide to recruit him in your private war with a load of moonspenders.

private ward n. a hospital ward, usually containing a single bed, that gives a patient privacy or is for fee-paying patients.

a1832 SCOTT Surgeon's Daughter vii, in Waverley Novels (1855) 498 Symptoms are dubious yet... That was an alarming swoon. You must have him carried into the *private ward. 1935 D. L. SAYERS Gaudy Night ix. 191 He's in a private ward, so you can get in any time. 1960 C. WATSON Bump in Night i. 15 He lay in a small private ward of Chalmsbury General Hospital. 1991 J. SPOTTISWOODE Undertaken with Love (BNC) 73 He had apparently disturbing the other patients that he had been moved, temporarily to a private ward.

private wire n. Teleph. (a) = private line n. (a); (b) a wire in an exchange used to test whether a line is in use without intrusion on a call in progress.

1852 *Private wires [see sense A. 8b]. 1878 Telegr. Jrnl. 6 51/1 The regulations concerning the despatch and receipt of telegrams, the tariffs for the same, and for the renting of private wires. 1940 War Illustr. 16 Feb. p. ii/1 Taking the final proof of his commentary on the foreign news of the day to the ‘private wire’ room, to be telegraphed or telephoned to Manchester. 1969 S. F. SMITH Telephony & Telegr. A vi. 153 A third wire is therefore provided on all connexions through the exchange, the potential of which indicates the condition of the circuit. This avoids intrusion on calls in progress and is called the private wire, usually abbreviated to ‘P-wire’. 1998 What Cellphone Nov. 29/1 A further benefit is that a private wire system can be set up in such a way as [sic] a company's mobile phones effectively behave like extensions of the office switchboard.

private world n. the realm of personal thoughts, perceptions, interests, etc., within which one moves or lives; a person's private consciousness (freq. implying a degree of fantasy or isolation from the real world).

1873 T. HARDY Pair of Blue Eyes I. xi. 234 It was the first time that she had had an inner and *private world apart from the visible one about her. 1921 A. HUXLEY Crome Yellow xiii. 128 He determined to retire absolutely from it [sc. the great world] and to Crome a private world of his own. 1989 G. DALY Pre-Raphaelites in Love vi. 250 Ned retreated into a private world of his own making.