Etymology: Middle English publique, from Anglo-French, from Latin publicus; akin to Latin populus people
Date: 14th century
a. exposed to general view ; open
b. well-known, prominent
c. perceptible, material
a. of, relating to, or affecting all the people or the whole area of a nation or state <public law> b. of or relating to a government c. of, relating to, or being in the service of the community or nation 3. a. of or relating to people in general ; universal b. general, popular 4. of or relating to business or community interests as opposed to private affairs ; social 5. devoted to the general or national welfare ; humanitarian 6. a. accessible to or shared by all members of the community b. capitalized in shares that can be freely traded on the open market — often used with go 7. supported by public funds and private contributions rather than by income from commercials <public radio> <public television> • publicness noun II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a place accessible or visible to the public — usually used in the phrase in public 2. the people as a whole ; populace 3. a group of people having common interests or characteristics; specifically the group at which a particular activity or enterprise aims
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.