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[priv-ee] /ˈprɪv i/
adjective, privier, priviest.
participating in the knowledge of something private or secret (usually followed by to):
Many persons were privy to the plot.
private; assigned to private uses.
belonging or pertaining to some particular person, especially with reference to a sovereign.
secret, concealed, hidden, or secluded.
acting or done in secret.
noun, plural privies.
outhouse (def 1).
Law. a person participating directly in or having a derivative interest in a legal transaction.
1175-1225; Middle English prive < Old French: private (adj.), close friend, private place (noun) < Latin prīvātus private Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for privies
  • The area has a disabled-accessible fishing dock and privies.
  • It also has an improved campground with gravel pads, fire grates, and privies.
  • Pit privies should only be used as a last resort where other types of facilities are not possible.
  • Each camp has shelters, tent pads, water and privies.
  • Two primitive campsites with privies and fireplaces.
  • Facilities at the implicated lake included two concrete vault privies, each containing two toilets.
  • Five designated primitive camping areas, three with disabled accessible privies.
  • Archaeological features, mostly privies, in other areas of the block were identified and mapped.
  • privies shall be provided on all construction and engineering projects.
  • privies shall be placed inside of heated buildings wherever possible to do so.
British Dictionary definitions for privies


adjective privier, priviest
(postpositive) foll by to. participating in the knowledge of something secret
(archaic) secret, hidden, etc
(archaic) of or relating to one person only
noun (pl) privies
a lavatory, esp an outside one
(law) a person in privity with another See privity (sense 1)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French privé something private, from Latin prīvātusprivate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for privies



"private," early 13c., from Old French privé "friendly, intimate; a private place," from Latin privatus "private, personal" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "participating in (a secret)" (usually with to) is attested from late 14c. Related: Privily. Privy Council is from c.1300 in a general sense; specifically of the British government, first attested late 14c., as consaile priue. Privy member "organ of sex" is from late 13c.


"toilet," c.1200, from Old French privé, privee "latrine," literally "private place," from noun use of adjective privé (see privy (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for privies



An outdoor toilet without plumbing; backhouse, Chic Sale (1662+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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