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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

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

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

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

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 periodicals archive ?
The hypothesis that the supervisor's recommendation for return to the team, job performance (recommendations for future development, and ministry strengths and weaknesses), job satisfaction (organizational life: identification with the mission agency's purposes, distinctives, objectives, and team unity), and attrition would be related to the 16PF traits of conscientiousness, neuroticism, privateness, self reliance, independence, controlled, extroversion, and the ability to bind anxiety was partially supported by the Pearson correlations and multiple regressions that were run.
Of the sixteen personality traits measured, motivational style impacted upon three: warmth, privateness and tension.
Whether a state agency like the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy or the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation will be able to benefit from state action immunity from federal antitrust law will thus depend on the circuit and how strictly it analyzes the agency's structure for signs of privateness.
He shared with Robert Bresson not only an intense privateness and Catholic, conservative bent but also a formal propensity for the 50-mm focal length, "which [most] closely resembles human vision," according to Rohmer's longtime cine-matographer, Nestor Almendros.
Focusing on the issue of intention, Hintz has built her argument around what she terms the essential privateness of Osborne's letters.
Female newcomers, with average levels of Vigilance and Privateness, appeared with greater frequency, while female returnees displayed more trusting, disclosing, and openness to change tendencies.
Public policy in fact promotes privateness in order to ensure the continued flow of information.
These paintings describe something rare and valuable in their complex relations between surface and image, between process and product, between her touch and our vision: the difference between the privateness of her experience and the publicness of ours, respected, not effaced, and held in tension.
She cherishes her "postcoital privateness," she goes "down howling" into "soundlessness" and "the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning" (123).