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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Private \Pri"vate\ (?; 48), a. [L. privatus apart from the state, peculiar to an individual, private, properly p. p. of privare to bereave, deprive, originally, to separate, fr. privus single, private, perhaps originally, put forward (hence, alone, single) and akin to prae before. See Prior, a., and cf. Deprive, Privy, a.] 1. Belonging to, or concerning, an individual person, company, or interest; peculiar to one's self; unconnected with others; personal; one's own; not public; not general; separate; as, a man's private opinion; private property; a private purse; private expenses or interests; a private secretary. [1913 Webster] 2. Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary; as, a private room or apartment; private prayer. [1913 Webster] Reason . . . then retires Into her private cell when nature rests. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or employment; as, a private citizen; private life. --Shak. [1913 Webster] A private person may arrest a felon. --Blackstone. [1913 Webster] 4. Not publicly known; not open; secret; as, a private negotiation; a private understanding. [1913 Webster] 5. Having secret or private knowledge; privy. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Private act or Private statute, a statute exclusively for the settlement of private and personal interests, of which courts do not take judicial notice; -- opposed to a general law, which operates on the whole community. In the United States Congress, similar private acts are referred to as private law and a general law as a public law. Private nuisance or wrong. See Nuisance. Private soldier. See Private, n., 5. Private way, a right of private passage over another man's ground; also, a road on private land, contrasted with public road, which is on a public right of way. --Kent. [1913 Webster +PJC]