privity

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman priveté, privitee et al., Old French priveté, from privé + -té.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

privity (plural privities)

  1. (obsolete) A divine mystery; something known only to God, or revealed only in holy scriptures.
  2. (obsolete) A private matter, a secret.
  3. (now rare, archaic) Privacy, secrecy.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.ix:
      Him oft and oft I askt in priuitie, / Of what loines and what lignage I did spring [...].
  4. (archaic, in the plural) The genitals.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.49:
      Having ended the delights of nature, they were wont to wipe their privities [transl. catze] with perfumed wooll.
  5. (law) A relationship between parties seen as being a result of their mutual interest or participation in a given transaction, contract etc.
    • 1870, Lysander Spooner, No Treason, Number 6, page 32:
      There is no privity, (as the lawyers say),—that is, no mutual recognition, consent and agreement—between those who take these oaths, and any other persons.