adj. & n.
1. of or concerning the people as a whole (a public holiday; the public interest).
2 open to or shared by all the people (public baths; public library; public meeting).
3 done or existing openly (made his views public; a public protest).
4 a (of a service, funds, etc.) provided by or concerning local or central government (public money; public records; public expenditure). b (of a person) in government (had a distinguished public career).
5 well-known; famous (a public institution).
6 Brit. of, for, or acting for, a university (public examination).
1. (as sing. or pl.) the community in general, or members of the community.
2 a section of the community having a particular interest or in some special connection (the reading public; my public demands my loyalty).
3 Brit. colloq. a public bar. b public house.
Phrases and idioms:
go public become a public company. in public openly, publicly. in the public domain belonging to the public as a whole, esp. not subject to copyright. in the public eye famous or notorious. public act an act of legislation affecting the public as a whole. public-address system loudspeakers, microphones, amplifiers, etc., used in addressing large audiences. public bar Brit. the least expensive bar in a public house. public bill a bill of legislation affecting the public as a whole. public company Brit. a company that sells shares to all buyers on the open market. public enemy a notorious wanted criminal. public figure a famous person. public health the provision of adequate sanitation, drainage, etc. by government. public house
1. Brit. an inn providing alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises.
2 an inn.
1. the law of relations between individuals and the State.
2 public act. public lending right the right of authors to payment when their books etc. are lent by public libraries. public libel a published libel.
1. an illegal act against the public generally.
2 colloq. an obnoxious person. public opinion views, esp. moral, prevalent among the general public. public ownership the State ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. public prosecutor a law officer conducting criminal proceedings on behalf of the State or in the public interest. Public Record Office an institution keeping official archives, esp. birth, marriage, and death certificates, for public inspection. public relations the professional maintenance of a favourable public image, esp. by a company, famous person, etc. public relations officer a person employed by a company etc. to promote a favourable public image.
1. Brit. a private fee-paying secondary school, esp. for boarders.
2 US, Austral., & Sc. etc. any non-fee-paying school. public sector that part of an economy, industry, etc., that is controlled by the State. public servant a State official. public spirit a willingness to engage in community action. public-spirited having a public spirit. public-spiritedly in a public-spirited manner. public-spiritedness the quality of being public-spirited. public transport buses, trains, etc., charging set fares and running on fixed routes, esp. when State-owned. public utility an organization supplying water, gas, etc. to the community. public works building operations etc. done by or for the State on behalf of the community. public wrong an offence against society as a whole.
Etymology: ME f. OF public or L publicus f. pubes adult