Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
A way to communicate only with a select person or people on social media sites or Internet forums. It is most commonly used as a verb. Private message me if you have any questions. If you don't want everyone to see it, send a private message instead of posting it.
euphemism One's external genitalia. The images of Adam and Eve most people are familiar with show their private parts covered by fig leaves. It's important to teach your children that their private parts are private, but not something to be ashamed of.
slang A private investigator or detective. "Dick" is a slang shortening of "detective." The disgraced police detective moved to another state and started a business as a private dick. It turned out they'd hired a private dick to keep tabs on her after she left the law firm.
slang A private investigator or detective. "Eye" is a pun on the letter "i" in "investigator." The disgraced police detective moved to another state and started a business as a private eye. It turned out they'd hired a private eye to keep tabs on her after she left the law firm.
Something that one pursues, often illegally, as a means to personal gain. Did you hear that she's started dabbling in some free enterprise and selling things on the black market?
Something that one pursues, often illegally, as a means to personal gain. Did you hear that she's started dabbling in some private enterprise and selling things on the black market?
To take a publicly-traded company into private ownership by having an investor or group of investors purchase all of its outstanding shares. The CEO thinks the company would benefit greatly from going private and avoiding all the regulatory costs and hassles that come with being public.
Away from others or in a way that others will not be able to observe; privately, as opposed to in public. We need to meet in private so that the paparazzi don't see us together. You better speak to him in private about that, instead of ambushing him in front of the whole staff.
privately; without others present. I'd like to speak to you in private. I enjoy spending the evening in private.
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.
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.
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]
a ˌprivate ˈeye(informal) a detective who is not in the police, but who can be employed to find out information, find a missing person, follow somebody, etc: They hired a private eye to look for more evidence.
private ˈpartsa polite way of referring to the sexual organs without saying their names
n. a detective who is licensed to work privately rather than for a police department. I worked for a while as a private eye.
To take a publicly owned company into private ownership, as by a leveraged buyout.
Not in public; secretly or confidentially.