Definition of privilege in English:


Line breaks: priv¦il|ege
Pronunciation: /ˈprɪvɪlɪdʒ


  • 1A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group: education is a right, not a privilege [mass noun]: he has been accustomed all his life to wealth and privilege
    More example sentences
    • The bill, piloted by acting Foreign Affairs Minister Danny Montano, is meant to grant certain privileges and immunities to the ACS.
    • A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens.
    • In earlier times, people from wealthy families enjoyed great privileges not available to working-class and poor people.
    advantage, right, benefit, prerogative, entitlement, birthright, due; concession, freedom, liberty
  • 1.1Something regarded as a special honour: I had the privilege of giving the Sir George Brown memorial lecture
    More example sentences
    • ‘It is a great honour and privilege to receive this award, especially in such a forum,’ he commented.
    • He did, however, describe the awards haul as ‘a real privilege, a tremendous honour and a real achievement’.
    • It's an immense privilege and honour to lead the council and I'm very proud of what has been achieved in the last three years.
    honour, pleasure, source of pleasure/pride/satisfaction
  • 1.2 (also absolute privilege) (Especially in a parliamentary context) the right to say or write something without the risk of incurring punishment or legal action for defamation: he called on MPs not to abuse their privilege [mass noun]: a breach of parliamentary privilege
    More example sentences
    • The committee, in its report, found the letter to be insulting but it did not constitute a breach of parliamentary privilege or contempt of Parliament.
    • They want to go into greater detail about how they can extend that right of parliamentary privilege to outside Parliament.
    • Parliamentary privilege is an ancient, much misunderstood concept, which I won't go into here.
  • 1.3The right of a lawyer or official to refuse to divulge confidential information.
    More example sentences
    • Z refused to provide information to the prosecutors citing a privilege against giving testimony against one's spouse.
    • And the notion that this is some sort of lawless act on her part, as if no one has ever received what the lawyers call a privilege, a right not to reveal sources, it just isn't so.
    • The court also said that the reporter had a right to assert the privilege for nonconfidential information.
  • 1.4chiefly • historical A grant to an individual, corporation, or place of special rights or immunities, especially in the form of a franchise or monopoly.
    More example sentences
    • The maximization of exports was to be stimulated by subsidies, tax incentives, and monopoly privileges granted by the Crown to export enterprises.
    • Hummell explains how it is that government gained its monopoly privileges in the first place and how the will to be free is essential in undermining this monopoly.
    • Like rent, interest is the offspring of state-supported monopoly privilege, not of liberty or community.
    immunity, exemption, dispensation


[with object] formal Back to top  
  • 1Grant a privilege or privileges to: English inheritance law privileged the eldest son
    More example sentences
    • These dovetailed with the devolution of a familial model based on the territorial prince and a rule of law privileging the eldest son.
    • Under this law, anyone who protests inside a church can be prosecuted on a charge far more serious than breach of the peace; it is an odd, arcane law, privileging the church, and should no doubt be abolished.
    • The law does not privilege the interests of men above those of women.
  • 1.1Exempt (someone) from a liability or obligation to which others are subject: barristers are privileged from arrest going to, coming from, and abiding in court
    More example sentences
    • In some, but not all, forms of legal process, witnesses and parties attending and returning from court are privileged from arrest.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin privilegium 'bill or law affecting an individual', from privus 'private' + lex, leg- 'law'.

More definitions of privilege

Definition of privilege in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day razz
Pronunciation: raz
tease (someone) playfully