Legal Definition and Related Resources of Public

Meaning of Public

All the inhabitants of a particular place . The whole body politic; or the aggregate of the citizens of a state , district or municipality . Open to all, open for the use, enjoyment or participation of all, either free or on payment of a fee. Belonging to the people at large .

Public Alternative Definition

The whole body politic, or all the citizens of the state. It is inapplicable to a municipal corporation or other political subdivision; the people are the public. 21 Mich. 335. It does not necessarily mean all of the inhabitants of a state, a county or a community. 184 111. App. 156; 169 111. 84. This term is sometimes joined to other terms, to designate those things which have a relation to the public; as, a public ofiicer, a public road, a public passage, a public house. A distinction has been made between the terms “public” and “general;” they are sometimes used as synonymous. The former term is applied strictly to that which concerns all the citizens and every member of the state; while the latter includes a lesser, though still a large, portion of the community. Greenl. Ev. § 128.

Synonyms of Public

(Affecting people), adjective

  • civic
  • civil
  • collective
  • common
  • communal
  • countrywide
  • federal
  • general
  • government
  • governmental
  • municipal
  • national
  • nationwide
  • social
  • societal
  • state Associated Concepts: public authorities
  • public benefit
  • public benefit corporation
  • public business
  • public charge
  • public charity
  • public convenience
  • public corporation
  • public document
  • public function
  • public funds
  • public good
  • public improvements
  • public interest
  • public necessity
  • public notice
  • public nuisance
  • public office
  • public policy
  • public purpose
  • public safety
  • public sector
  • public service commission
  • public use
  • public utilities
  • public welfare
  • public works foreign phrases: Pacta privata juri publico derogare non possunt
  • Private contracts cannot derogate from public right
  • Necessitaspublica major est quam privata
  • Public necessity is greater than private
  • Jura publica anteferenda privatis
  • Public rights are to be preferred to private parts
  • Privatum commodumpublico cedit
  • Private good yields to public good
  • Privatum incommodum publico bono pensatur
  • Private inconvenience is compensated for by public benefit
  • Lex citius tolerare vult privatum damnum quam publicum malum
  • The law would rather tolerate a private loss than a public evil

(Known), adjective

  • acknowledged
  • aired
  • announced
  • apparent
  • broadcast
  • bruited about
  • circulated
  • commonly known
  • disclosed
  • disseminated
  • divulged
  • encyclic
  • encyclical
  • evident
  • exoteric
  • familiar
  • manifest
  • notorious
  • obvious
  • overt
  • popular
  • proclaimed
  • promulgated
  • propagated
  • publiais
  • published
  • recognized
  • released
  • renowned
  • reported
  • revealed
  • spread abroad
  • ventilated
  • wellknown
  • widely known

(Open), adjective

  • accessible
  • approachable
  • attainable
  • available
  • community
  • free to all
  • not private
  • permitted
  • reachable
  • unbarred
  • unprohibited
  • unreserved
  • unrestricted Associated Concepts: public accommodations
  • public documents
  • public domain
  • public hearing
  • public institutions
  • public place
  • public property
  • public records
  • public sale


  • body politic
  • citizenry
  • commonalty
  • commonwealth
  • community
  • folk
  • general public
  • homines
  • laymen
  • nation
  • persons
  • polity
  • populace
  • population
  • populus
  • social group
  • society
  • Associated Concepts: public good
  • public use
  • public utility
  • public welfare

Related Entries of Public in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Public in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Public in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Public in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Public in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

Abstract Of Title, Accredit, Administrative Law, Advertise, Alley, Appropriation, Appurtenant, Assessment, Auction, Bankruptcy, Blackmail, Breach Of The Peace, Bribery, Broadcasting, C.p.a., Camera, Candidate, Canons Of Professional Responsibility, Capital Structure, Carrier, Certificate, Chaplain, Charitable, Civil Rights, Civil Rights Acts, Class Action, Cohabit, Color Of Authority, Commence, Commission, Common, Commons, Commonwealth, Company, Compensate, Compensation, Comprehensive Zoning Plan, Comptroller, Concert, Condemn, Condemnation, Confiscate, Confiscation, Conflict Of Interest, Contempt, Contractor, Corporation, Covenant, Curative, Custody, , Damaged, Dance Hall, Dedicate, Dedication, Disorderly Conduct, District Attorney, Disturbance Of The Peace, Easement, Electric Utility Company, Eminent Domain, Excessive, Exchequer, Exchequer, Court Of, Extended-area Service, Fair Comment, Fairness Doctrine, , Fishery, For Cause, Forge, Fraud, Garage, Security For Good Behavior, Goodwill, Graft, Grant, Highway, Iammas Lands, Illicit, Impeach, Indecent Exposure, Indian Reservation, Information, , Innkeeper, Inquest, Inscription, Insider, Institution, Insurable Interest, Insurance Broker, International Law, Intoxication, Invasion Of Privacy, Inverse Condemnation, , Judge, Judicial Power, Just Cause, Just Compensation, Justice Of The Peace, Keeping Disorderly House, Land Department, , , Lawyer, Livery Of Seisin, Local Assessment, Magazine, Magistrate, , Mandamus, Maritime Tort, Market, Marksman, , Mens Rea, Merchant Seaman, Mining Claim, Misbehavior, Money Bill, Monopoly, Mugging, Municipal Corporation, Narcotics, Navigable, Nepotism, Newspaper, Nonfeasance, Notary, Notorious, Nuisance, Office, Omnibus, Open Court, Open-end Company, Oppression, P.h.a., , Pairing, Palming Off, Parish, , Passing Off, Peace, Peace Officer, Penal Institution, Police, Police Power, Politics, Poundage, Preventive Justice, Primaries, Privacy, Private Company, Private Corporation, Proclamation, Prosecutor, Prospectus, Protest, Public Lands, Public Place, Public Policy, Public Utility, Publican, Quasi Judicial, Railroad Crossing, Railroad, Railway, , Rate Base, Rate Of Return, Record, Refusal, Register, Registrar, Registry, Religious Freedom, Remedial Statute, Reorganization, Reprimand, Reputation, Request, Reservation, Restaurant, Restraint Of Trade, Revenue, Revenue Bond, Right Of First Publication, Roadway, Saloon, School District, Scold, , Securities Acts, Service, Slander, Special Assessment, Special Counsel, Special Taxes, Street, Student, Subsidy, , Taxation, Thoroughfare, , , Trade Mark, Trade Name, Treasury.

Translate Public Sentiment from English to Spanish

Translation of Public Sentiment, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Sentimiento público and other legal terms is available here.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Public in the Dictionary Public in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Public
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Public in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Public is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Public (more about URIs)


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Public

(You may find public at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

the community, 1610s, from public (adj.); meaning “people in general” is from 1660s. In public “in public view, publicly” is attested from c. 1500.


This term is an adjetive.

Etimology of Public

(You may find public at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

late 14c., “open to general observation,” from Old French public (c. 1300) and directly from Latin publicus “of the people; of the state; done for the state,” also “common, general, public; ordinary, vulgar,” and as a noun, “a commonwealth; public property,” altered (probably by influence of Latin pubes “adult population, adult”) from Old Latin poplicus “pertaining to the people,” from populus “people” (see people; this term is also a noun.). Early 15c. as “pertaining to the people.” From late 15c. as “pertaining to public affairs;” meaning “open to all in the community” is from 1540s in English. An Old English adjective in this sense was folclic. Public relations first recorded 1913 (after an isolated use by Thomas Jefferson in 1807). Public office “position held by a public official” is from 1821; public service is from 1570s; public interest from 1670s. Public-spirited is from 1670s. Public enemy is attested from 1756. Public sector attested from 1949. Public funds (1713) are the funded debts of a government. Public school is from 1570s, originally, in Britain, a grammar school endowed for the benefit of the public, but most have evolved into boarding-schools for the well-to-do. The main modern meaning in U.S., “school (usually free) provided at public expense and run by local authorities,” is attested from 1640s. For public house, see pub.


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Joe Public, one does not wash one’s dirty linen in public.

  • Posted


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