Meaning of PUBLIC in English


I. pub ‧ lic 1 S1 W1 /ˈpʌblɪk/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ public , ↑ publication , ↑ publicist , ↑ publicity ; verb : ↑ publicize ; adverb : ↑ publicly ; adjective : ↑ public ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: publique , from Latin publicus , probably from poplicus , from populus 'people' ; influenced by pubes 'adult' ( ⇨ ↑ pubes ) ]

1 . ORDINARY PEOPLE [only before noun] relating to all the ordinary people in a country, who are not members of the government or do not have important jobs:

We have to show that publishing this story is in the public interest (=helpful or useful to ordinary people) .

full public access to information

Public opinion is gradually shifting in favor of the imprisoned men.

There was a public outcry (=expression of anger by a lot of people) about the shooting.

Their activities have been hidden from the public gaze (=people's eyes or attention) .

2 . FOR ANYONE [only before noun] available for anyone to use OPP private :

a public telephone

a public footpath

proposals to ban smoking in public places

a public library

public transport British English public transportation American English (=buses, trains etc)

3 . GOVERNMENT [only before noun] relating to the government and the services it provides for people OPP private :

the Government’s public spending plans

We do not believe he is fit for public office (=a job in the government) .

efforts to control public expenditure

public funding for the arts

⇨ ↑ public service

4 . KNOWN ABOUT known about by most people:

Details of the highly sensitive information have not been made public.

Although not a public figure (=famous person) , he was a man of great influence.

5 . NOT HIDDEN intended for anyone to know, see, or hear OPP private :

Today the school finds itself in the midst of a very public debate.

public display of grief/affection etc (=showing your emotions so that everyone can see)

She was acutely embarrassed by his public display of temper.

There will be a public inquiry into the sinking of the oil tanker.

a fear of public speaking

6 . PLACE WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE a public place usually has a lot of people in it OPP private :

Let’s go somewhere less public where we can talk.

7 . public life work that you do, especially for the government, that makes you well known to many people:

Howard seems to have retired from public life.

8 . public image the public image of a famous person or organization is the character or attitudes that most people think they have

public image of

attempts to improve the public image of the police

9 . go public

a) to tell everyone about something that was secret

go public on/with

The planners are almost ready to go public on the road-building scheme.

b) to become a ↑ public company :

Many partnerships went public in the 1980s to secure extra capital.

10 . public appearance a visit by a famous person in order to make a speech, advertise something etc:

She is paid £10,000 for the briefest of public appearances.

11 . the public eye someone who is in the public eye is seen a lot on television, written about in newspapers etc:

It is a job that brings him constantly into the public eye.

12 . public property

a) something that is provided for anyone to use, and is usually owned by the government:

The army was called out to protect public property.

b) something that everyone has a right to know about:

Our lives seem to have become public property.

13 . public enemy number one the criminal, problem etc that is considered the most serious threat to people’s safety:

Drugs have become public enemy number one.

II. public 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ public , ↑ publication , ↑ publicist , ↑ publicity ; verb : ↑ publicize ; adverb : ↑ publicly ; adjective : ↑ public ]

1 . the public [ also + plural verb British English ] ordinary people who do not work for the government or have any special position in society:

The meeting will be open to the general public.

Police warned members of the public not to approach the man, who may be armed.

On the whole, the public are conservative about education.

2 . in public if you do something in public, you do it where anyone can see OPP in private :

Her husband was always nice to her in public.

⇨ wash/air your dirty linen/laundry (in public) at ↑ dirty 1 (7)

3 . [ singular, U also + plural verb British English ] the people who like a particular singer, writer etc:

He is adored by his public.

The theatre-going public are very demanding.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.