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Webster 1913 Edition


Public

Pub′lic

,
Adj.
[L.
publicus
,
poblicus
, fr.
populus
people: cf. F.
public
. See
People
.]
1.
Of or pertaining to the people; belonging to the people; relating to, or affecting, a nation, state, or community; – opposed to
private
;
as, the
public
treasury
.
To the
public
good
Private respects must yield.
Milton.
He [Alexander Hamilton] touched the dead corpse of the
public
credit, and it sprung upon its feet.
D. Webster.
2.
Open to the knowledge or view of all; general; common; notorious;
as,
public
report;
public
scandal.
Joseph, . . . not willing to make her a
public
example, was minded to put her away privily.
Matt. i. 19.
3.
Open to common or general use;
as, a
public
road; a
public
house.
“The public street.”
Shak.
public act
or
public statute
(Law)
,
an act or statute affecting matters of public concern. Of such statutes the courts take judicial notice.
Public credit
.
See under
Credit
.
Public funds
.
See
Fund
, 3.
Public house
,
an inn, or house of entertainment.
Public law
.
(a)
See
International law
, under
International
.
(b)
A public act or statute.
Public nuisance
.
(Law)
See under
Nuisance
.
Public orator
.
(Eng. Universities)
See
Orator
, 3.
Public stores
,
military and naval stores, equipments, etc.
Public works
,
all fixed works built by civil engineers for public use, as railways, docks, canals, etc.; but strictly, military and civil engineering works constructed at the public cost.

Pub′lic

,
Noun.
1.
The general body of mankind, or of a nation, state, or community; the people, indefinitely;
as, the American
public
; also, a particular body or aggregation of people;
as, an author’s
public
.
The
public
is more disposed to censure than to praise.
Addison.
2.
A public house; an inn.
[Scot.]
Sir W. Scott.
In public
,
openly; before an audience or the people at large; not in private or secrecy.
“We are to speak in public.”
Shak.

Webster 1828 Edition


Public

PUB'LIC

,
Adj.
[L.publicus, from the root of populus, people; that is, people-like.]
1.
Pertaining to a nation, state or community; extending to a whole people; as a public law, which binds the people of a nation or state, as opposed to a private statute or resolve, which respects an individual or a corporation only. Thus we say, public welfare, public good, public calamity, public service, public property.
2.
Common to many; current or circulated among people of all classes; general; as public report; public scandal.
3.
Open; notorious; exposed to all persons without restriction.
Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. Matt.1.
4.
Regarding the community; directed to the interest of a nation, state or community; as public spirit; public mindedness; opposed to private or selfish.
5.
Open for general entertainment; as a public house.
6.
Open to common use; as a public road.
7.
In general, public expresses something common to mankind at large, to a nation, state, city or town, and is opposed to private, which denotes what belongs to an individual, to a family, to a company or corporation.
Public law, is often synonymous with the law of nations.

PUB'LIC

,
Noun.
The general body of mankind or of a nation, state or community; the people, indefinitely.
The public is more disposed to censure than to praise.
In this passage, public is followed by a verb in the singular number; but being a noun of multitude, it is more generally followed by a plural verb; the public are.
In public, in open view; before the people at large; not in private or secrecy.
In private grieve, but with a careless scorn,
In public seem to triumph, not to mourn.

Definition 2021


public

public

See also: públic

English

Alternative forms

Adjective

public (comparative more public, superlative most public)

  1. Able to be seen or known by everyone; open to general view, happening without concealment. [from 14th c.]
    • 2011, Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 18 Apr 2011:
      Earlier this month Godwin had to make a public apology to the family of Daniel Morgan after the collapse of a £30m inquiry into his murder in 1987.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic [].  Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. When a series of bank failures made this impossible, there was widespread anger, leading to the public humiliation of symbolic figures.
  2. Pertaining to all the people as a whole (as opposed a private group); concerning the whole country, community etc. [from 15th c.]
    • 2010, Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 16 Sep 2010:
      A mere 3% of the more than 1,000 people interviewed said they actually knew what the conference was about. It seems safe to say public awareness of the Convention on Biological Awareness in Nagoya - and its goal of safeguarding wildlife - is close to non-existent.
    • 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 public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra-wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.
  3. Officially representing the community; carried out or funded by the state on behalf of the community. [from 15th c.]
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      From another point of view, it was a place without a soul. The well-to-do had hearts of stone; the rich were brutally bumptious; the Press, the Municipality, all the public men, were ridiculously, vaingloriously self-satisfied.
    • 2004, The Guardian, Leader, 18 Jun 2004:
      But culture's total budget is a tiny proportion of all public spending; it is one of the government's most visible success stories.
  4. Open to all members of a community; especially, provided by national or local authorities and supported by money from taxes. [from 15th c.]
    • 2011, David Smith, The Guardian, 10 May 2011:
      Some are left for dead on rubbish tips, in refuge bags or at public toilets.
    • 2013 June 14, Jonathan Freedland, Obama's once hip brand is now tainted”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 18:
      Now we are liberal with our innermost secrets, spraying them into the public ether with a generosity our forebears could not have imagined. Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet.
  5. (of a company) Traded publicly via a stock market.

Antonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Noun

public (plural publics)

  1. The people in general, regardless of membership of any particular group.
    Members of the public may not proceed beyond this point.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Tremarn Case:
      “Two or three months more went by ; the public were eagerly awaiting the arrival of this semi-exotic claimant to an English peerage, and sensations, surpassing those of the Tichbourne case, were looked forward to with palpitating interest. […]”
    • 2007 May 4, Martin Jacques, The Guardian
      Bush and Blair stand condemned by their own publics and face imminent political extinction.
  2. (archaic) A public house; an inn.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Scott to this entry?)

Usage notes

  • Although generally considered uncountable, this noun does also have countable usage, as in the quotation above.

Derived terms

Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: thus · order · near · #286: public · others · anything · matter

French

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /py.blik/

Etymology 1

Borrowed from Latin publicus.

Adjective

public m (feminine singular publique, masculine plural publics, feminine plural publiques)

  1. public

Etymology 2

Noun use of public (compare Latin publicum).

Noun

public m (plural publics)

  1. public (people in general)
  2. audience
    Il devait plaire à son public.
    He had to please his audience

Ladin

Adjective

public m pl

  1. plural of publich

Old French

Alternative forms

Adjective

public m (oblique and nominative feminine singular publique)

  1. public (not private; available to the general populace)

Derived terms

  • en public

References


Romanian

Etymology

Borrowed from French public < Latin publicus.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈpu.blik/

Adjective

public m, n (feminine singular publică, masculine plural publici, feminine and neuter plural publice)

  1. public

Noun

public

  1. the public