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Old French privé ‎(private), from Latin privatus ‎(deprived). More at private



privy ‎(comparative more privy, superlative most privy)

  1. (now chiefly historical) Private, exclusive; not public; one's own.
    The king retreated to his privy chamber.
    the privy purse
  2. (now rare, archaic) Secret, hidden, concealed.
    • 1967, William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Vintage 2004, p. 82:
      Nonetheless, in the dark and privy stillness of our minds there are few of us who are not still haunted by worrisome doubts.
  3. With knowledge of; party to; let in on.
    He was privy to the discussions.


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privy ‎(plural privies)

  1. An outdoor toilet; latrine; earth closet; john; johnny house.
  2. (law) A partaker; one having an interest in an action, contract, etc. to which he is not himself a party.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wharton to this entry?)