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Definitions of Public

  1. (noun) A group that shares a common idea, interest or ideology.
  2. (noun) The group affected by a policy.
  3. (noun) A community or people in general.
  4. (adjective) Concerning or relating to people considered as whole.
  5. (adjective) Accessible and open to all people.

Examples of Public

  • Definition 1:
    • The viewing public in relation to television watching.
  • Definition 2:
    • Students that must pay a tuition increase.
  • Definition 3:
    • The residents of a city.
  • Definition 4:
    • public at large
    • public good
  • Definition 5:
    • public forum
    • public gardens

Public Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: pub·lic

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /pUHb-lik/
  • British English – /pUHb-lik/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈpəblɪk/
  • British English – /ˈpʌblɪk/

Usage Note

  • Plural: publics

Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Cite the Definition of Public

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “public.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 5, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/public/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

public. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/public/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “public.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 5, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/public/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“public.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/public/>.