Definition Essay – Different Meanings of Private

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Definition Essay – Different Meanings of Private

“Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society.” This was a quote by David Friedman (Friedman). The word dealt with in this essay is ‘private’ and this quote exactly examines one of the prime meanings of private. The main aim of my essay is to explain the different meanings of the word private and to explain the significance and variations of its usage over the past decades.

My research regarding the meaning of the word private was accounted from three dictionaries. The three dictionaries that have been selected are - Webster’s New World dictionary of the American language (1961), Webster – An American
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The third one was – A soldier below the rank of a non-commissioned officer. Here private is used as an abbreviation. Now though the meaning of the word private as already stated above are similar to the meanings listed in the dictionaries, However a noticable change in pattern for implying the meaning through the decades in these dictionaries.

One major thing that will not go unnoticed is that the dictionaries of the latter half have more sets of sub meanings for the word and are also less descriptive than the one in the earlier times. For example in the 1844 edition Webster dictionary it is stated that one meaning of private is properly, separate; unconnected with others, hence peculiar to ones self; belonging to or concerning to an individual only and on the contrary in the OED of 1989, the same implies- not open to the public, intended only for the use of private and privileged persons, that belongs to or is the property of a particular individual; belonging to oneself, ones own. Here we can see what has been just stated. The meaning of the word private in the OED is not very descriptive but is more like an order of sub-points.

Private in day to day life has two major uses and the use depends on the context that the word is being used. Private could be used in suggesting someone’s privacy or it could imply an organization which is not public. Like in colleges, dorm rooms, houses people tend to use this word in
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