Definition of public in English:

public

adjective

  • 1Of or concerning the people as a whole.

    ‘public concern’
    ‘public affairs’
    • ‘Do we ban tobacco out of concern for public health, or do we allow people the freedom to choose their own evils.’
    • ‘Plans for a new nightspot in Maldon have been rejected by district councillors concerned about public safety.’
    • ‘This division is important in getting really valid issues and concerns into the public forum.’
    • ‘That is a matter for public concern for those living in the region.’
    • ‘As the school year started two years ago there was little public concern over this.’
    • ‘These matters are of grave public concern and the people deserve to know the truth.’
    • ‘He is bound to recognise the acute public concern rightly aroused where deaths occur in custody.’
    • ‘They maintain that since public safety is their concern therefore they have to be very cautious.’
    • ‘Irish nightclubs are big business but public order concerns are threatening to cut short the party.’
    • ‘But he said he was increasingly concerned about the public cynicism of politics and politicians.’
    • ‘Manners are not a private affair, but are matters of great public concern.’
    • ‘West Yorkshire Police continue to have serious concerns about public safety.’
    • ‘The trust recognised public concern but did not have any grounds to object to the trial.’
    • ‘We need to know how the delay happened, and if there are any other public health concerns that we need to know about.’
    • ‘Mr Fitzgerald said the right of the press and the public to know matters of legitimate public concern was recognised.’
    • ‘In my experience, the press gallery is more concerned with public affairs than private ones.’
    • ‘It is perhaps worth noting that the issue of secrecy in matters of public affairs has been long a source of public concern.’
    • ‘She argues that the paper trivialises legitimate public concern over GM foods.’
    • ‘Concern with public welfare found an echo in another reforming current - that provided by the Church.’
    • ‘We recognise that this remains a matter of considerable public concern.’
    popular, general, common, communal, collective, shared, joint, universal, widespread
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    1. 1.1 Open to or shared by all the people of an area or country.
      ‘a public library’
      • ‘The roof needs replacing, and although most of the public areas look fine, there are parts of the castle which are in a very bad state.’
      • ‘She wondered whether the change would qualify that area for more public lighting and footpaths.’
      • ‘There was a place a little further down that had a public open area for the community.’
      • ‘The initial contribution will be used to add public art to the area in front of Keighley Shared Church and the adjacent car park.’
      • ‘A number of local residents have put forward proposals to make the wooded public area a greater amenity for villagers.’
      • ‘Residents in Redvales angered over plans to build a new nursery in the area held a public meeting on Monday.’
      • ‘People living in the area believed it was to be a public meeting where they would have the opportunity to have their say.’
      • ‘Mr Longworth said Miss Suri was wearing correct footwear and was in an area approved for public access when she slipped.’
      • ‘They will be presenting their case to an open public meeting at Guildhall next Tuesday at 7.30 pm.’
      • ‘This site is an area of public open space zoned for recreation and amenity.’
      • ‘To date, the city has held several open houses and public meetings about the plans, he said.’
      • ‘This is a public meeting and all people in the area are welcome to attend.’
      • ‘A regular visitor to the north Cotswolds has kicked up a stink about the state of the public toilets in the area.’
      • ‘The first phase of the project includes the refurbishment of the bedrooms and revamping the bar and public areas.’
      • ‘There will be a public meeting for all residents of the area on a date to be announced in the Autumn.’
      • ‘We are about to embark on a campaign of planting and general enhancement of public areas.’
      • ‘Maritz said the parking area was public open space - he could not allow the deck to remain.’
      • ‘People are complaining about the mess, and there is a big fine for owners of dogs that soil public areas.’
      • ‘It was icy on the road inside the residential area while the public roads are completely clear of snow already.’
      • ‘The ration of half an hour per week or fortnight is simply not enough and this should not be a case of finance but it should be in the area of public amenity.’
      open, open to the public, communal, not private, not exclusive, accessible to all, available, free, unrestricted, community
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    2. 1.2 Of or involved in the affairs of the community, especially in government.
      ‘his public career was destroyed by tenacious reporters’
      • ‘We take a look at the world of entertainment, pointing at various public figures and being all sarcastic.’
      • ‘She'd say she turned her back on a public career very deliberately.’
      • ‘There is nothing wrong with public figures adapting their style to communicate with the widest number of people.’
      • ‘And second, the public career of one of the country's most formidable politicians.’
      • ‘Lewis should have recognized the fact that media coverage plays a great role in shaping public image.’
      • ‘When he was defeated a second time in 1979, it looked as though his career in Welsh public life was at an end.’
      • ‘It helps women to achieve their full potential in their careers and public lives.’
      • ‘He said Yorath was a public figure, who had tried to be a role model, but he recognised that his guilty plea meant he had failed.’
      • ‘He dislikes electioneering, is awkward in explaining his vision and is a poor public communicator.’
      • ‘More and more of my students seek careers in lobbying and public affairs from the get go.’
      prominent, well known, in the public eye, leading, important, eminent, pre-eminent, recognized, distinguished, notable, noteworthy, noted, outstanding, foremost, of mark
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    3. 1.3 Known to many people; famous.
      ‘a public figure’
  • 2Done, perceived, or existing in open view.

    ‘he wanted a public apology in the Wall Street Journal’
    ‘we should talk somewhere less public’
    • ‘He seems to have a strategy, but it is one that he does not seem to have laid open for public view and debate.’
    • ‘It is the attempt to exclude such views from acceptable public discourse that is anti-democratic.’
    • ‘Which soap actor made a public apology for exposing himself on the internet?’
    • ‘Do we really gain anything from barring extreme points of view from public discourse?’
    • ‘In my view, this public distaste for Charles is to do with his behaviour, not his position.’
    known, widely known, overt, plain, obvious, in circulation, published, publicized, exposed
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  • 3Of or provided by the government rather than an independent, commercial company.

    ‘public benefits’
    • ‘These buildings are private properties, but public money is being spent.’
    • ‘It's a serious argument over whether to increase spending on public services or to lift people out of poverty.’
    • ‘Dundee Partnership is yet to finalise the plans, but is in pursuit of funding from private and public bodies.’
    • ‘This time the SNP is emphasising better public services rather than the cost of delivering them.’
    • ‘Then attention shifted to a relentless focus on levels of government spending on public services.’
    • ‘This applies whether the developer is a private developer or a public body.’
    • ‘For years, this country has spent far too little on our public services.’
    • ‘Why get your procedure done in a public hospital rather than a private clinic?’
    • ‘Privatised industries must be returned to public ownership with no compensation for speculative gains.’
    • ‘Money, I may add, that could have been spent on improving public services.’
    • ‘It will be a supreme test of the virtues of public ownership over privatisation.’
    • ‘It is a great opportunity to defend public services against the privatisers.’
    • ‘We want to end privatisation and bring services back into public ownership.’
    • ‘The government is hostile to public ownership and holds private business in utter reverence.’
    • ‘They said it was sometimes easier for women to progress in the public rather than private sector.’
    • ‘We stand against privatisation of public services and against tuition fees.’
    • ‘She maintained the overall tax-take in order to keep up spending on public services.’
    • ‘Of course the tone set by those at the top of the Government influences the civil service and public bodies.’
    • ‘We believe this would combine the best elements of public ownership with private sector efficiency.’
    • ‘All governments spend public money raised from private citizens and corporations in taxes.’
    state, national, federal, government
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  • 4British Of, for, or acting for a university.

    ‘public examination results’
    • ‘The plan will go back before councillors and may also be put through a public examination process before being finalised.’
    • ‘Like most public institutions the university has not escaped the effects of neo-liberalism.’
    • ‘In fact public universities, as a result, have had to raise their tuitions dramatically.’
    • ‘We also need to bear in mind that most US students still go to public universities.’
    • ‘In the public universities the government is planning to impose fees on students.’

noun

the public
  • 1treated as singular or plural Ordinary people in general; the community.

    ‘the library is open to the public’
    ‘the public has made an informed choice’
    • ‘Public history also sought to enhance communication between historians and the general public.’
    • ‘Is it going to be about informing the public of the dangers?’
    • ‘I cite these examples to illustrate the controlled ignorance of the general public at that time.’
    • ‘Such relationships are often maintained at the expense of the voters and the general public.’
    • ‘Members of all denominations and the general public are invited to attend the Legacy service.’
    • ‘Regrettably, the general public is almost totally unaware of this important research.’
    • ‘However, he reassured his constituents and the general public that he had no such intention.’
    • ‘Many experts have thus given up the attempt to communicate with the general public.’
    • ‘An official opening will be held tomorrow night before it opens to the general public again on Saturday.’
    • ‘The final phase of the project will consist of competitions open to the general public.’
    • ‘The letters of the alphabet ought to, and should, be open to the general public for use.’
    • ‘Yet the greatest prize was informing the public on matters of world interest.’
    • ‘The museum will open to the general public when all school appointments are finished.’
    • ‘Apart from which, they were enormously popular with the general public.’
    • ‘Often the mainstream media have done more to mislead than to inform the public on the issues behind the protests.’
    • ‘Police have now turned to the public for help over the August 27 attack.’
    • ‘Most members of the general public would regard them as stiff or rigid.’
    • ‘The central question under section 41 is the risk to the public from serious harm.’
    • ‘The news networks picked up the story and asked the public for help.’
    • ‘The course is suitable and worthwhile for all members of the general public.’
    people, citizens, subjects, general public, electors, electorate, voters, taxpayers, ratepayers, residents, inhabitants, citizenry, population, populace, community, society, country, nation, world
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    1. 1.1with adjective or noun modifier A section of the community having a particular interest or connection.
      ‘the reading public’
      • ‘York amateur boxing is poised to leap up from the canvas again - but it needs support of the city's sporting public.’
      • ‘Inspiringly, it was a venture that went down well with the reading public.’
      • ‘Like the rest of the reading public, I have grown used to waiting for her.’
      • ‘Ivory is now out of fashion due to conservationist efforts to educate the buying public.’
      • ‘The American viewing public's interest is a powerful force in the future of the Games.’
      • ‘The idea of multiple publics blurs - or, worse, dodges - the issue of what we ought to be doing in the academy, the issue being to my mind how we ought to try to think about the public as a unifiable but not now unified field.’
      • ‘They sell better because the reading public feels it is getting value for money.’
      • ‘The British travelling public is the most resilient in the world.’
      • ‘Whether these developments increased the reading public is another matter.’
      • ‘This was guaranteed to win the support of the animal-loving British public.’
      • ‘The various publics, having other interests or no inclination toward foreign matters short of war, tended toward apathy.’
      • ‘How far are you willing to accommodate the reading public in its need for good entertainment?’
      • ‘This feeds the idea of the Internet audience as a participatory, democratic public.’
      • ‘It also provides a place for me to share what I write with a reading public.’
      • ‘Perhaps filmmakers today think the viewing public is too stupid to understand political issues.’
      • ‘And one which drew the applause, I think, of all major sections of the sporting publics of the world who were watching it.’
      • ‘He is no longer one of that select group of monarchs in whom the reading or viewing public is thought to be interested.’
      • ‘At some stage he noticed that illiteracy was far greater amongst the seeing than the reading public.’
      • ‘Frankly, it may be complex to give a round up of all this to the French reading public, but we hope to be able to do that.’
      • ‘The Victorian reading public had an insatiable appetite for this kind of fiction.’
      body of support, backing, patronage
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    2. 1.2one's public The people who watch or are interested in an artist, writer, or performer.
      ‘some famous last words to give my public’
      • ‘It's a strange but pleasant feeling, meeting one's public for the first time.’
      • ‘Suddenly, as if on cue, he straightened his shoulders and walked downstage to greet his public.’
      • ‘I descend to greet my public at 11 pm and am able to scrutinize at least 6 different chins and sets of grinning teeth at close quarters.’
      audience, spectators, concertgoers, theatregoers, followers, following, fans, devotees, aficionados, admirers
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Phrases

  • go public

    • 1Become a public company.

      • ‘Also on the agenda will be how to accelerate sales of the government's stakes in public companies and allowing insurers to go public.’
      • ‘Investors don't get their money out until the partnership liquidates or goes public, which typically doesn't happen for 10 to 15 years.’
      • ‘And not only are more money-losing companies going public, initial valuations can be distinctly frothy.’
      • ‘Absolutely everything was accelerated, from hiring to going public.’
      • ‘Other Irish agencies went public, and mergers and acquisitions abounded.’
      • ‘Similarly, we see lots of unformed companies go public at rather extraordinary valuations.’
      • ‘For others, it means going public and answering to shareholders.’
      • ‘There is the potential to grow rapidly, and if you do, getting bought out or going public are distinct possibilities.’
      • ‘Still, why would Seagate consider going public with tech valuations so low?’
      • ‘There will also be some franchises that ultimately will go public.’
    • 2Reveal details about a previously private concern.

      ‘Bates went public with the news at a press conference’
      • ‘His ex-wife went public with her shocking health secret on this very show.’
      • ‘The couple went public with their relationship back in April.’
      • ‘Over the past few days, since I went public with my complaints concerning the casino, I have been swamped with phone calls regarding the actions I took.’
      • ‘Wilson, now retired, was so appalled at the administration's misuse of a discredited story that he went public with his information.’
      • ‘Coalition MPs were briefed at a special meeting called just before the Prime Minister went public with his plans to strengthen counter-terrorism laws.’
      • ‘But it picked up Lee's cause as soon as the government went public with its outrageous actions.’
      • ‘Let's see how this one runs, especially so shortly after the Cheif Constable went public with his suspicions!’
      • ‘And people are wondering why I went public with this!’
      • ‘He went public with his diagnosis of lung cancer last week.’
      • ‘Recently, you went public with a very personal struggle that you had with eating disorders.’
  • in public

    • In view of other people; when others are present.

      ‘men don't cry in public’
      • ‘So we were not used to seeing strong men crying in public, and not at all sure how to react when we did.’
      • ‘He added that no decision had been made yet on whether to ban smoking in public.’
      • ‘You expect to be ticked off from time to time if you venture your views in public.’
      • ‘He says in public what other MPs say in private, which confers upon him a kind of immunity.’
      • ‘When I am out in public and light up I abide by and respect the rules of wherever I am.’
      • ‘He is a man who speaks reluctantly, at least in public, of disappointment and griefs.’
      • ‘If this is how some people behave in public, Heaven only knows how they carry on in their own homes.’
      • ‘He is not seen much in public these days and his views on the situation are not known.’
      • ‘That gave Aitken confidence to talk in public about justice and honour when he knew he was lying.’
      • ‘No doubt when the current government falls, there will be dirty linen washed in public.’
      publicly, in full view of people public, in full view of the public, openly, in the open, for all to see, undisguisedly, blatantly, flagrantly, brazenly, with no attempt at concealment, overtly, boldly, audaciously, unashamedly, shamelessly, unabashed, wantonly, immodestly
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  • the public eye

    • The state of being known or of interest to people in general, especially through the media.

      ‘the pressures of being constantly in the public eye’
      • ‘Make periodic withdrawals from the public eye with consequent eagerly anticipated comebacks.’
      • ‘The committees performed well in bringing information about these cases to the public eye.’
      • ‘A hive of activity is taking place away from the public eye at the new Commonwealth Games stadium.’
      • ‘He shied away from the public eye in the months leading up to the conference.’
      • ‘People in the public eye could learn a thing or two from the princess.’
      • ‘You don't have to be a politician or a person in the public eye to gain media attention.’
      • ‘But it is time now to draw back from treating him as a public spectacle and let him fight his demons out of the public eye.’
      • ‘She urged celebrities and people in the public eye not to wear fur as this can lead to fashion trends being set.’
      • ‘Growing up in the public eye certainly accelerated the maturing process.’
      • ‘I will be in the public eye and will have to hold myself and behave in a manner becoming of that position.’
      the spotlight, the limelight, the glare of publicity, prominence
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Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin publicus, blend of poplicus ‘of the people’ (from populus ‘people’) and pubes ‘adult’.

Pronunciation

public

/ˈpəblik//ˈpəblɪk/