private


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Related to private: Private bank

private branch exchange

A telephone system within an institution or business that can only be used by the people inside that establishment. There was an issue with the private branch exchange this morning, but we hope to have the phones working again shortly.
See also: branch, exchange, private

private language

1. A way of communicating that is shared between and understood by only a few people. My sister and I have had our own private language ever since we were girls—our brothers still can't understand it! After working together for so many years, Ellen and I have a private language that is all our own.
2. philosophy A type of inner language only comprehensible to a single person. The concept was introduced by Ludwig Wittgenstein, who argued that it could not exist. The concept of private language is still a topic of debate among philosophers, especially due to its potential ramifications for metaphysics.
See also: language, private

in private

privately; without others present. I'd like to speak to you in private. I enjoy spending the evening in private.
See also: private

free enterprise

Also, private enterprise. An undertaking on one's own behalf, especially a shady or illegal one. For example, The city treasurer didn't bother with competitive bids; the spirit of free enterprise just led him to his brother-in-law , or The sergeant indulged in a little private enterprise, selling cigarettes on the black market . This sarcastic application of a term that has meant, since about 1885, the freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with a minimum of government control, dates from the mid-1900s.
See also: free

in private

Not in public; secretly, confidentially. For example, The hearings will be conducted in private, or May I speak to you in private? [Late 1500s] For an antonym, see in public.
See also: private

private eye

A privately employed detective, as opposed to one working for the police or another authority. For example, The children loved stories about private eyes, and Janey wanted to become one. This expression comes from the term private investigator, the "i" of investigator being changed to "eye," which plays on the idea of a person looking into things. [1930s]
See also: eye, private

private eye

n. a detective who is licensed to work privately rather than for a police department. I worked for a while as a private eye.
See also: eye, private

go private

To take a publicly owned company into private ownership, as by a leveraged buyout.
See also: private

in private

Not in public; secretly or confidentially.
See also: private
References in classic literature ?
The Government has always monop- olized the long-distance lines, and is now about to buy out all private companies.
Spain has private companies, which give fairly good service to twenty thousand people.
With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism.
Jesus moved in a community that allowed the accumulation of private property just as ours does, and the gospel that he preached was not that in such a community it is an advantage for a man to live on scanty, unwholesome food, to wear ragged, unwholesome clothes, to sleep in horrid, unwholesome dwellings, and a disadvantage for a man to live under healthy, pleasant, and decent conditions.
Metaphors and precedents were not wanting; peculiar spiritual experiences were not wanting which at last made the retention of his position seem a service demanded of him: the vista of a fortune had already opened itself, and Bulstrode's shrinking remained private.
Not yet," said the General, filling his pipe from the King's private tobacco pouch.
The next morning, when in the presence of the whole brigade Private Greene was shot to death by a squad of his comrades, Lieutenant Dudley turned his back upon the sorry performance and muttered a prayer for mercy, in which himself was included.
I was implicitly trusted by both of them; I saw them in their most private moments.
The private characteristics of the several clerks often crop out in their method of settling themselves at their desks,--the chilly one has a wooden footstool under his feet; the man with a bilious temperament has a metal mat; the lymphatic being who dreads draughts constructs a fortification of boxes on a screen.
The private history of the days that had passed since the marriage
The worst of it is, he has a private telephone wire in his house to London.
On the other hand, both political science and common sense teach us that in matters of state, and especially in the matter of war, private citizens must forego their personal individual
Of course he lied when I asked him why he wished me to get him the keys in that private way.
Well then - speaking privately if you like - how long have you been in private touch with this Embassy spy?
Pickwick contemplated a stay of at least two months in Bath, he deemed it advisable to take private lodgings for himself and friends for that period; and as a favourable opportunity offered for their securing, on moderate terms, the upper portion of a house in the Royal Crescent, which was larger than they required, Mr.