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- (US) A service performed for the public good, especially by a nonprofit organization but sometimes also provided by a for-profit enterprise or a trade association.
- This has been a public service announcement from the Advertising Council.
- (US) The business of providing an important commodity (such as water, electricity, or gas) or a service (such as public transportation, communications, or community health centers) to the general public, often in the form of a publicly or privately owned public utility or a publicly funded nonprofit organization (e.g. community health center, public hospital). (Fire departments, police, courts, public schools, military, e.g., are considered part of the public sector, but not usually called public services.)
- (US) Government employment, especially in the civil service.
- (Britain) A service such as health care, transport, or waste removal usually provided by the government to the general public; often called a public sector organization in US English.
- 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 23, page 19:
- In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. Essential public services are cut so that the rich may pay less tax. […]
service provided to the general public by government or other official body