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Related to privy: privy purse, privy council

in the privy

In the toilet, usually one that is outdoors (an outhouse). A: "Where is Reginald?" B: "I believe he's in the privy. Shall I give him a message from you?"
See also: privy


1. noun A toilet, usually one that is outdoors (an outhouse). My uncle's house was built in the 1800s, so if you want to go to the bathroom, you have to use the privy out back.
2. verb Knowledgeable about something; made aware of something, especially a secret or private piece of information. Followed by "to" in this usage. I really don't like being privy to things I can't talk about with others—I'd prefer to just not know anything about it at all. I just wish you would make me privy to this kind of information before we head into a meeting with the heads of the entire corporation.

privy parts

obsolete euphemism One's external genitalia. Did you see that vulgar painting Lord Edgar has in his sitting room? I don't care if it's Adam and Eve—privy parts should never be on display while one receives guests.
See also: part, privy
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

privy to something

Fig. knowledgeable about something secret or private. The reporter became privy to the senator's evil plan. Why are you privy to this secret information?
See also: privy, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


n. an outdoor toilet; any toilet. Uncle Paul was out in the privy.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Privy Council followed the "living tree" passage with an admonition that the Constitution should not be interpreted in a "narrow and technical" manner, but should rather be given a "large and liberal interpretation." (6) The Privy Council acknowledged the well-established rule that the then British North America Act, 1867 (7) (now the Constitution Act, 1867) (8) should be interpreted "by the same methods of construction" (9) as other statutes.
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The Wirral West MP has been given a position on the Privy Council - a prestigious advisory board for the Queen on matters of state.
That could not have come at a worse time, as the Privy Council is about to decide on the future of Press regulation.
In the policy-making and administrative hierarchy of the Canadian government's bureaucracy, no position outranks that of the Clerk of the Privy Council.
It was a major achievement of the Quaid-i-Azam aimed at removing the 'disability and great hardship' that had been created by the decision of the Privy Council in the case of Abul Fata Mahomed Ishak and others v.