1. Belonging to, or concerning, an individual person, company, or interest; peculiar to one's self; unconnected with others; personal; one's own; not public; not general; separate; as, a man's private opinion; private property; a private purse; private expenses or interests; a private secretary.

2. Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary; as, a private room or apartment; private prayer. "Reason . . . Then retires Into her private cell when nature rests." (Milton)

3. Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or employment; as, a private citizen; private life. "A private person may arrest a felon." (Blackstone)

4. Not publicly known; not open; secret; as, a private negotiation; a private understanding.

5. Having secret or private knowledge; privy. Private act or statute, a statute exclusively for the settlement of private and personal interests, of which courts do not take judicial notice; opposed to a general law, which operates on the whole community. Private nuisance or wrong. See Nuisance. Private soldier. See Private. Private way, a right of private passage over another man's ground.

Origin: L. Privatus apart from the state, peculiar to an individual, private, properly p. P. Of privare to bereave, deprive, originally, to separate, fr. Privus single, private, perhaps originally, put forward (hence, alone, single) and akin to prae = before. See Prior, and cf. Deprive, Privy.

(01 Mar 1998)