Definition of public enemy in English:

Share this entry

public enemy

Pronunciation: /ˈpəblik ˈenəmē/


1A notorious wanted criminal.
Example sentences
  • First, clause 19 which mentions acts of public enemies, pirates and assailing thieves.
  • The condemnation visited upon the memory of a public enemy - in this case Octavian's defeated rival - and the consequent destruction of his images appear to have been more than usually effective.
  • Foxhunting is nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of bloodthirsty twisted people to go out and get pleasure out of torture without going to jail and without being labelled public enemies by the government.
1.1A person or thing regarded as the greatest threat to a group or community: he identified inflation as public enemy number one
More example sentences
  • Therefore our task as the new public enemy number one is to make sure we don't lose our human face, to show them that do-gooders are so inclined because they are compassionate people, not because they are a snobby bunch of intellectuals.
  • It is clearly a product of the post-war era in which inflation was public enemy number one throughout the Western world.
  • The man regarded by many traditional art lovers as public enemy number one for his support of the Young British Artists who showed beds, sharks and sheep in place of canvases has made a remarkable about-turn.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pub·lic en·e·my

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.