AskDefine | Define privileges

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Noun

privileges
  1. Plural of privilege

Verb

privileges
  1. third-person singular of privilege

Extensive Definition

A privilege—etymologically "private law" or law relating to a specific individual—is a special entitlement or immunity granted by a government or other authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. A privilege can be revoked in some cases. In modern democracies, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from birth. Miscellaneous privileges, e.g. the old common law privilege to title deeds, may still exist, though of little relevance today.
In a broader sense, 'privilege' can refer to special powers or 'de facto' immunities held as a consequence of political power or wealth. Privilege of this sort may be transmitted by birth into a privileged class or achieved through individual actions. Compare elite.
One of the objectives of the French Revolution was the abolition of privilege. This meant the removal of separate laws for different social classes (nobility, clergy and ordinary people), instead subjecting everyone to the same common law. Privileges were abolished by the National Constituent Assembly on August 4, 1789.

In Popular Culture

Notes

privileges in Aragonese: Pribilechio
privileges in Danish: Privilegium
privileges in German: Privileg
privileges in Spanish: Privilegio
privileges in Italian: Privilegio
privileges in Dutch: Privilege
privileges in Norwegian: Privilegium
privileges in Polish: Przywilej
privileges in Russian: Привилегия
privileges in Simple English: Privilege
privileges in Swedish: Privilegium
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