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From Middle English privilege, from Anglo-Norman privilege and Old French privilege, from Latin prīvilēgium (“ordinance or law against or in favor of an individual”), from prīvus (“private”) + lēx, lēg- (“law”).
- (ecclesiastical law, now chiefly historical) An exemption from certain laws granted by the Pope. [from 8th c.]
- (countable) A particular benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity enjoyed by some but not others; a prerogative, preferential treatment. [from 10th c.]
- An especially rare or fortunate opportunity; the good fortune (to do something). [from 14th c.]
- 2012, The Observer, letter, 29 April:
- I had the privilege to sit near him in the House for a small part of his Commons service and there was an additional device provided to aid his participation in debates.
- (uncountable) The fact of being privileged; the status or existence of (now especially social or economic) benefit or advantage within a given society. [from 14th c.]
- 2013, The Guardian, 21 Oct, (headline):
- South Africa's 'miracle transition' has not put an end to white privilege.
- A right or immunity enjoyed by a legislative body or its members. [from 16th c.]
- Synonym: immunity
- 2001, The Guardian, leader, 1 May:
- Dr Grigori Loutchansky is – according to a congressman speaking under congressional privilege – a "purported Russian mob figure".
- (countable, US, finance, now rare) A stock market option. [from 19th c.]
- (law) A common law doctrine that protects certain communications from being used as evidence in court.
- Your honor, my client is not required to answer that; her response is protected by attorney-client privilege.
- (computing) An ability to perform an action on the system that can be selectively granted or denied to users.
- Synonym: permission
- absolute privilege
- attorney-client privilege
- check your privilege
- cis privilege
- executive privilege
- green privilege
- immune privilege
- opinion privilege
- Pauline privilege
- point of privilege
- privilege escalation
- shopkeeper's privilege
- solicitor-client privilege
- son of privilege
- viatorial privilege
- white privilege
- with privilege
- writ of privilege
exemption from certain laws granted by the Pope
particular benefit, advantage, or favor
right or immunity enjoyed by a legislative body
finance: stock market option
computing: selectively granted ability
- (archaic) To grant some particular right or exemption to; to invest with a peculiar right or immunity; to authorize
- to privilege representatives from arrest
- (archaic) To bring or put into a condition of privilege or exemption from evil or danger; to exempt; to deliver.
to grant some particular right or exemption to
to bring or put into a condition of privilege or exemption from evil or danger
- “privilege”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
- privilege in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
- “privilege”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
privilege n (plural privileges)
- privilege (benefit only given to certain people)