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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

private parts

A euphemism for one's genitalia. The senator then asked if I wanted to move my career in the right direction, while placing my hand on his private parts. The images of Adam and Eve most people are familiar with show their private parts covered by fig leaves.
See also: part, 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 ?
Emphasis: Accompanying, chamber music, history, private lessons, technique and theory.
Emphasis: Chamber music, history, improvisation, jazz, private lessons, technique, repertoire, sight reading, theory, workshops, electronic and computer music and conducting.
Chamber music, private lessons, repertoire, workshops, orchestra, opera, ballet, theatre and classical guitar.
Emphasis: Chamber music, history, improvisation, jazz, private lessons, technique, theory, workshops and electronic and computer music.
Emphasis: Improvisation, jazz, private lessons and technique.
Emphasis: Accompanying, chamber music, history, improvisation, jazz, private lessons, technique, pedagogy, repertoire, sight reading, theory, popular music, workshops, electronic and computer music and traditional camp activities.
Emphasis: Chamber music, private lessons, technique, repertoire, sight reading, theory, opera workshop/musical theater and other arts.
Emphasis: Chamber music, history, jazz, private lessons, technique, sight reading, theory, popular music and electronic and computer music.
Foley & Lardner's 2005 study found that private organizations are adopting relatively less expensive public company governance reforms, including CEO/CFO certification of financial reports, election of independent directors, development of ethical codes, and approval of non-audit services by the board.
To review the full private study results, please visit www.
Private Organizations Continue to Self-Impose Corporate Governance Reforms
Some private organizations reported adopting public company governance standards in anticipation of eventual federal or state requirements.
Executives of private companies were asked to comment on how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other public company governance regulations, intended to apply only to public companies, are impacting their organizations.
Eighty-seven percent of private organizations surveyed believe that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other public company governance reform requirements have impacted their organizations, up from 77 percent in 2004.
Seventy-eight percent of the private organizations surveyed have self-imposed public company governance reforms, compared to 60 percent of respondents in 2004.