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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Public


PUB'LIC, adjective [Latin publicus, from the root of populus, people; that is, people-like.]

1. Pertaining to a nation, state or community; extending to a whole people; as a public law, which binds the people of a nation or state, as opposed to a private statute or resolve, which respects an individual or a corporation only. Thus we say, public welfare, public good, public calamity, public service, public property.

2. Common to many; current or circulated among people of all classes; general; as public report; public scandal.

3. Open; notorious; exposed to all persons without restriction.

Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. Matthew 1:1.

4. Regarding the community; directed to the interest of a nation, state or community; as public spirit; public mindedness; opposed to private or selfish.

5. Open for general entertainment; as a public house.

6. Open to common use; as a public road.

7. In general, public expresses something common to mankind at large, to a nation, state, city or town, and is opposed to private, which denotes what belongs to an individual, to a family, to a company or corporation.

Public law, is often synonymous with the law of nations.

PUB'LIC, noun The general body of mankind or of a nation, state or community; the people, indefinitely.

The public is more disposed to censure than to praise.

In this passage, public is followed by a verb in the singular number; but being a noun of multitude, it is more generally followed by a plural verb; the public are.

In public in open view; before the people at large; not in private or secrecy.

In private grieve, but with a careless scorn,

In public seem to triumph, not to mourn.