- of, relating to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole: public funds; a public nuisance.
- done, made, acting, etc., for the community as a whole: public prosecution.
- open to all persons: a public meeting.
- of, relating to, or being in the service of a community or nation, especially as a government officer: a public official.
- maintained at the public expense and under public control: a public library; a public road.
- generally known: The fact became public.
- familiar to the public; prominent: public figures.
- open to the view of all; existing or conducted in public: a public dispute.
- pertaining or devoted to the welfare or well-being of the community: public spirit.
- of or relating to all humankind; universal.
- the people constituting a community, state, or nation.
- a particular group of people with a common interest, aim, etc.: the book-buying public.
- British Informal. a tavern; public house.
- go public,
- to issue stock for sale to the general public.
- to present private or previously concealed information, news, etc., to the public; make matters open to public view: The senator threatened to go public with his congressional-reform plan.
- in public, not in private; in a situation open to public view or access; publicly: It was the first time that she had sung in public.
- make public, to cause to become known generally, as through the news media: Her resignation was made public this morning.
- of, relating to, or concerning the people as a whole
- open or accessible to allpublic gardens
- performed or made openly or in the view of allpublic proclamation
- (prenominal) well-known or familiar to people in generala public figure
- (usually prenominal) maintained at the expense of, serving, or for the use of a communitya public library
- open, acknowledged, or notoriousa public scandal
- go public
- (of a private company) to issue shares for subscription by the public
- to reveal publicly hitherto confidential information
- the community or people in general
- a part or section of the community grouped because of a common interest, activity, etcthe racing public
late 14c., “open to general observation,” from Old French public (c.1300) and directly from Latin publicus “of the people; of the state; done for the state,” also “common, general, public; ordinary, vulgar,” and as a noun, “a commonwealth; public property,” altered (probably by influence of Latin pubes “adult population, adult”) from Old Latin poplicus “pertaining to the people,” from populus “people” (see people (n.)).
Early 15c. as “pertaining to the people.” From late 15c. as “pertaining to public affairs;” meaning “open to all in the community” is from 1540s in English. An Old English adjective in this sense was folclic. Public relations first recorded 1913 (after an isolated use by Thomas Jefferson in 1807).
Public office “position held by a public official” is from 1821; public service is from 1570s; public interest from 1670s. Public-spirited is from 1670s. Public enemy is attested from 1756. Public sector attested from 1949.
Public school is from 1570s, originally, in Britain, a grammar school endowed for the benefit of the public, but most have evolved into boarding-schools for the well-to-do. The main modern meaning in U.S., “school (usually free) provided at public expense and run by local authorities,” is attested from 1640s. For public house, see pub.
“the community,” 1610s, from public (adj.); meaning “people in general” is from 1660s. In public “in public view, publicly” is attested from c.1500.
Openly, open to public view or access. For example, They’ve never appeared together in public. [c. 1450] For an antonym, see in private.
see go public; in public; in the public eye; John Doe (Q. Public); wash one’s dirty linen in public.