private pri‧vate [ˈpraɪvt] adjective [only before a noun]
1. private property, businesses, activities etc are owned or paid for by people and companies, rather than the government:

• They transferred ownership of thousands of companies from the state to the private sector (= the part of the economy not owned by the government ) .

• Investment bankers say that private money should be used for new municipal projects.

private pensions

— privately adverb :

• Joe Sims, a former Justice Department lawyer who now practices privately

• a privately run prison

• privately operated toll roads

2. FINANCE involving something that is sold directly to people or organizations, without being offered openly for anyone to buy:

• The company has raised $50 million in a private placement arranged by Kemper Financial Services.

• Goldman will seek new sources of capital through a private investment offering.

• a private sale of 70 million shares, to be offered to investment institutions at A$2.55 each

— privately adverb :

• The banks will privately place the shares with individual investors.

• He will decide which works will be sold privately and which works will be sold at auction.

3. in private hands not belonging to the government:

• Slovak officials approved proposals to put 200 companies in private hands.

4. in private hands belonging to a member of the public rather than to an organization:

• There are more than 100 million handguns in private hands in the US.

5. go private also turn private if a government-owned organization goes or turns private, it is sold to investors:

• Iberia Airlines will be ready to go private next year.

• Poland's remaining state enterprises have put forward plans to turn private.

6. go private to pay for medical treatment instead of getting it free at a public hospital
7. a private company does not make its shares available for anyone to buy on a stockmarket:

• Cargill, the largest private company in the US, wants to stay that way. Says Mr West, a vice president: `We'll go public (= sell shares on the stockmarket ) the week after snowballs form in hell.'

— privately adverb :

• Cortisol Medical Research Inc., a privately-held (= privately-owned ) drug manufacturer

8. go private if a company with shares on the stockmarket goes private, its owners buy back those shares from existing shareholders so that it becomes privately owned:

• The majority of companies that went private in the last few years will become public again by reselling stock.

9. take a company private if a company's owners take it private, they buy back all shares from existing shareholders:

• The company's chairman plans to take the company private through a buy-out of the 74% of shares he doesn't already own.

10. only for use by one particular person or group, not for everyone:

• a private road

• private accommodation

11. a private meeting, agreement, conversation etc involves only a small number of people and is kept secret:

• Mr. Miscio rose to protest, saying `This is a private meeting'.

• The visit was preceded by a private audience (= a meeting with someone important ) for the chairmen.

— privately adverb :

• He and his lawyers will be permitted to meet privately at the Oakland jail.

* * *

private UK US /ˈpraɪvɪt/ adjective
used to describe a company with shares that are not traded on a stock market: »

EM.TV is a private family-owned company.

ECONOMICS owned or controlled by one person or company, rather than by a government: »

Much of the funding for this type of investment comes from public, rather than private, sources.


We need to review public and private interests in order to balance them carefully.


The center has about 85 employees supported by private money from grants and donations.


private health insurance


private agencies/institutions/hospitals

ECONOMICS private employees, investors, etc. act for themselves, rather than for a government or company: »

private buyers/investors


a private contractor/developer

COMMERCE, FINANCE only offered to particular people or organizations to buy and not offered to the public: »

The property was sold by private treaty.


a private sale

intended only for the use of one person or group of people: »

a private jet


a private club

MEETINGS involving only a small group of people and kept secret: »

Senior group executives are reported to be in private talks regarding a possible merger.


a private agreement/conversation

connected with your personal life, rather than your job: »

Employees are asked to keep private emails/phone calls to a minimum.

go private — Cf. go private
in private — Cf. in private
in private hands — Cf. in private hands
owned by one person, rather than by an organization: »

Two original copies of the manuscript are still in private hands.

take sth private — Cf. take sth private

Financial and business terms. 2012.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • private — pri·vate adj 1 a: intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons: not available to the public a private park b: not related to, controlled by, or deriving from the state a private school 2 a: owned by or …   Law dictionary

  • Private — Media Group  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Private (homonymie).  Private Media Group …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Private — Pri vate (?; 48), a. [L. privatus apart from the state, peculiar to an individual, private, properly p. p. of privare to bereave, deprive, originally, to separate, fr. privus single, private, perhaps originally, put forward (hence, alone, single) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • private — [prī′vət] adj. [ME pryvat < L privatus, belonging to oneself, not to the state < privare, to separate, deprive < privus, separate, peculiar, prob. akin to OL pri: see PRIME] 1. of, belonging to, or concerning a particular person or… …   English World dictionary

  • Private — can refer to:* Privacy, the ability of a person to control the availability and path of information about himself or herself and exposure of himself or herself. * privately held companies * Private (rank), a military grade * Private (film), a… …   Wikipedia

  • private — ► ADJECTIVE 1) for or belonging to one particular person or group only. 2) (of a service or industry) provided by an individual or commercial company rather than the state. 3) (of thoughts, feelings, etc.) not to be shared or revealed. 4) (of a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Private — Pri vate (pr[imac] v[asl]t), n. 1. A secret message; a personal unofficial communication. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Personal interest; particular business.[Obs.] [1913 Webster] Nor must I be unmindful of my private. B. Jonson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • private — (adj.) late 14c., from L. privatus set apart, belonging to oneself (not to the state), used in contrast to publicus, communis; originally pp. stem of privare to separate, deprive, from privus one s own, individual, from Old L. pri before.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • private — [adj1] personal, intimate behind the scenes*, clandestine, closet*, close to one’s chest*, confidential, discreet, exclusive, hushed, hush hush*, independent, individual, inside, nonpublic, not open, off the record*, own, particular, privy*,… …   New thesaurus

  • private — [[t]pra͟ɪvɪt[/t]] ♦♦ privates 1) ADJ: usu ADJ n Private industries and services are owned or controlled by an individual person or a commercial company, rather than by the state or an official organization. ...a joint venture with private… …   English dictionary

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