Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of public
Meaning of public by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms


    From Anglo-Norman publik, public, Middle French public, publique et al., and their source, Latin pūblicus ( “pertaining to the people” ), alteration ( probably after pubes ( “adult men” ) ) of populicus, from populus ( “people” ). Compare people .


    • IPA: /ˈpʌblɪk/, X-SAMPA: /"pVblIk/
    • Hyphenation: pub‧lic


    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.]
    2. Pertaining to all the people as a whole ( as opposed a private group ); concerning the whole country, community etc. [from 15th c.]
    3. Officially representing the community; carried out or funded by the state on behalf of the community. [from 15th c.]
    4. Open to all members of a community; especially, provided by national or local authorities and supported by money from taxes. [from 15th c.]
    5. ( of a company ) Traded publicly via a stock market .



    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 .

    Usage notes

    Derived terms


    External links

    • public in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • public in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of public by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. affecting the people or community as a whole

    2. the public welfare
    3. not private

    4. the public good
      public libraries
      public funds
      public parks
      a public scandal
      public gardens
      performers and members of royal families are public figures
    1. a body of people sharing some common interest

    2. the reading public
    3. people in general considered as a whole

    4. he is a hero in the eyes of the public

    Definition of public by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Public a. [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. See International law, under International. 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.

    2. Public, n.
      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.