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
2. Sequestered from company or observation; appropriated to
an individual; secret; secluded; lonely; solitary; as, a
private room or apartment; private prayer.
Reason . . . then retires
Into her private cell when nature rests. --Milton.
3. Not invested with, or engaged in, public office or
employment; as, a private citizen; private life. --Shak.
A private person may arrest a felon. --Blackstone.
4. Not publicly known; not open; secret; as, a private
negotiation; a private understanding.
5. Having secret or private knowledge; privy. [Obs.]
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
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]