Definition of privation in US English:



  • 1A state in which things that are essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking.

    ‘years of rationing and privation’
    ‘the privations of life at the front’
    • ‘He was jailed in 1926 for his political activities, and spent the remainder of his life in prison, suffering the most appalling privations under a regime personally supervised by Mussolini.’
    • ‘And, while an unpaid day off each week creates a financial squeeze for workers, these privations are minor compared to the economic hardship and emotional devastation wrought by layoffs.’
    • ‘Lost in the jungle for several weeks, she miraculously survived its privations (hunger, thirst and multiple insect bites), although her two brothers and a nephew did not.’
    • ‘Under circumstances of poverty and the consequent privations, it is absurd to say that a Hindu should try to be as openly charitable as his forefathers were in the Golden Era of our civilization.’
    • ‘I arrived in blitzed London - no heating, rationing, all the privations of the day.’
    • ‘How long are people prepared to be exposed to sufferings and privations caused by the blockade?’
    • ‘They suffered the same privations and risks as everyone else in wartime Britain, but carried the added burden of knowing exactly what the Nazis could do.’
    • ‘Man per man, the average Confederate soldier made more hard marches, suffered more privations, risked his life more frequently, was wounded more times, and died more often than the average Union soldier.’
    • ‘Food never tasted so good, but my privations were temporary while his were a longterm condition.’
    • ‘Relations between England and Spain began to deteriorate in the 16th century and, although trade continued, the colony of English merchants trading from Sanlúcar began to suffer privations.’
    • ‘It is true that the Scottish health service has not suffered the privations reported in London, for instance.’
    • ‘She spoke of tense meetings as mothers faced a terrible dilemma: keep their children close and have them suffer the privations of the camp, or send them to the other side of the world.’
    • ‘No democracy has ever suffered privations as colossal as those the Nazis inflicted on the Soviets; the United States in particular has got off amazingly lightly in all the wars it has fought against external enemies.’
    • ‘A doctor gave evidence that the children had undergone privations for want of clothing and food.’
    • ‘Neither is the plea that violence and privation, the sacrifice of the present, may be the price of breaking through to a better future.’
    • ‘It has to be people who accept the strange privations of island life, the unreliable transport and the lack of shops and other staples of modern life.’
    • ‘The fight for survival was the topical issue in Italy after World War II and privations, hardships and misery were everywhere.’
    • ‘He spent the remainder of the war in a hospital or the rear area, but never forgot his buddies or the privations they suffered.’
    • ‘Croatian and other mercenaries serving the emperor ran riot, venting their anger and frustration at the privations they had suffered during the siege and killing thousands.’
    • ‘Possibly, by 1933 the party was equally disliked by the town workers; the enthusiasms of 1929 had been dissipated by hunger, privation, overcrowding, and regimentation by party bosses.’
    deprivation, hardship, poverty, penury, indigence, destitution, impoverishment, want, need, neediness
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    1. 1.1formal The loss or absence of a quality or attribute that is normally present.
      ‘cold is the privation of heat’
      • ‘It points to a privation of being, to the absence of moral, spiritual being, in Panurge.’
      • ‘By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.’
      • ‘It would be very difficult to run an election campaign in which you said you were going to leave the E.U., as proponents of continued Union membership would insist that this would lead to serious job losses and economic privation.’
      • ‘By arguing in such a way, Mr. Hart draws upon and restates, with verve and ornament, the classical Christian view that all evil is an absence, a privation of good.’
      • ‘Evil is merely privative, not absolute: it is like cold, which is the privation of heat.’
      deprivation, disappearance, losing, forfeiture, waste, squandering, dissipation
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Middle English: from Latin privatio(n-), from privat- ‘deprived’, from the verb privare (see private).