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free enterprise

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?
See also: enterprise, free

go private

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.
See also: go, private

in private

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.
See also: private

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 dick

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.
See also: dick, private

private enterprise

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?
See also: enterprise, private

private eye

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.
See also: eye, 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

private message

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.
See also: message, private

private parts

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.
See also: part, private
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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: enterprise, 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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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.
See also: eye, private

private ˈparts

a polite way of referring to the sexual organs without saying their names
See also: part, private
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

go private

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

in private

Not in public; secretly or confidentially.
See also: private
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In the past, you would have to exit a group chat and find an individual contact in order to respond to them privately.
Another argument used by the doctors is because they are not employees of the state, like state hospital doctors, they have no guaranteed income, paid holidays, 13th salary or paid sick leave and therefore are entitled to try to maximise their earnings by also treating patients privately. In theory, they could see private patients, after they finished their Gesy-related work, but such an arrangement would be difficult to police.
HB 631 resolves longstanding conflicts over the adoption of customary use doctrines and balances the interests of private property rights and the public's right to continue enjoying and using privately owned beachfront property just as it has since time immemorial.
They therefore conclude that "our results raise the possibility that instead of too few publicly insured children being admitted during high flu weeks, there are too many publicly and privately insured children being admitted most of the time."
The year with the highest rate of claims was 2009, with 41.4% of Medicaid-enrolled women and 29.1% of privately insured women filling opioid prescriptions.
Ranked second among privately owned Russian banks by assets, Promsvyazbank concluded the one-year $307 million and EUR 72 million trade-related term loan facility on Monday 22 October 2012, in London.
"Those who can't buy a house instead rent their home privately. But millions are already struggling to keep up with the rising costs and they are set to rise steeply over the next few years.
BEIRUT: The mayor of the Beirut suburb of Dikwaneh filed a complaint Wednesday against an owner of a privately operated generator in his town on charges of death threats and assault, the National News Agency reported.
"I know that privately many members of the different political parties, including the BJP, having been talking to us privately, they all have been saying privately please do it.
"The president met with Admiral McRaven at the White House to thank him personally in the Oval Office and will have the opportunity to privately thank some of the special operators involved in the operation on Friday at Fort Campbell," the official said without elaborating.
Although private fostering is invariably caring and safe, if you are privately fostering a child for more than 28 days the law says you must notify your local council.
The per-household number of privately owned vehicles including minivehicles came to 1.086 units at the end of March, down 0.009 unit from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Automobile Inspection & Registration Information Association.
Privately owned housing starts fell 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 510,000, according to data by the U.S.
The best way to deal with this is to sell it privately. This is also the right place for a savvy car buyer to look.