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As a noun, the whole body politic, or the aggregate of the citizens of a state, nation, or municipality. The community at large, without reference to the geographical limits of any corporation like a city, town, or county; the people.

As an adjective, open to all; notorious. Open to common use. Belonging to the people at large; relating to or affecting the whole people of a state, nation, or community; not limited or restricted to any particular class of the community.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) n. the people of the nation, state, county, district or municipality, which the government serves. 2) adj. referring to any agency, interest, property, or activity which is under the authority of the government or which belongs to the people. This distinguishes public from private interests as with public and private schools, public and private utilities, public and private hospitals, public and private lands, and public and private roads.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

LAW, PUBLIC. A public law is one in which all persons have an interest.

POLICY, PUBLIC. By public policy is meant that which the law encourages for the promotion of the public good.
     2. That which is against public policy is generally unlawful. For example, to restrain an individual from marrying, or from engaging in business, when the restraint is general, in the first case, to all persons, and, in the second, to all trades, business, or occupations. But if the restraint be only partial, as that Titius shall not marry Moevia, or that Caius shall not engage in a particular trade in a particular town or, place, the restraint is not against public policy,, and therefore valid. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. Sec. 274. See Newl. Contr. 472.

PUBLIC. By the term the public, is meant the whole body politic, or all the citizens of the state; sometimes it signifies the inhabitants of a particular place; as, the New York public.
     2. 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. Sec. 128.
     3. When the public interests and its rights conflict with those of an individual, the latter must yield. Co. Litt. 181. if, for example, a road is required for public convenience, and in its course it passes on the ground occupied by a house, the latter must be torn down, however valuable it may be to the owner. In such a case both law and justice require that the owner shall be fully indemnified.
     4. This term is sometimes joined to other terms, to designate those things which have a relation to the public; as, a public officer, a public road, a public passage, a public house.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
However, Gossip Cop said that it was just "a bogus tabloid report." There's nothing to go public about since Cooper and Gaga are not a couple.
"There is extra money coming in when you go public and also extra liability and responsibility.
Quality companies might be able to go public in a downturn, but they generally wait instead.
"Under a number of international regulations, a company must have an operating history of at least three years before being able to go public as going public must be a reward to the founders of the business that would like to cash out," said Boustany.
Last night Coun Tebbutt admitted he had intended to go public with his call for the lights to be removed, but then decided against it after taking advice from council officer Caroline Bruce, and opting to follow the line of collective responsibility.
In fact, just 1% of the 6,000 small businesses surveyed say the legislation made it more likely they will go public. And the survey was conducted in the first quarter, before Facebook gave IPOs a bad name with its messy launch as a public company in May.
Usually, the names of the companies for business reasons are disclosed when the companies themselves decide to go public, which is most often before the official start of the construction works or before signing a deal with the government.
Taipei, Dec.22, 2011 (CENS)--Despite the volatile global capital market, overseas Taiwanese firms still swarmed to go public in Taiwan, with 12 overseas Taiwanese firms having done so in 2011, double that of last year; but an industry insider believes the trend will slow in 2012 due to the European sovereign debt crisis.
One of the next companies preparing to go public is Groupon, the daily-deals juggernaut that basically defines its market.
M2 EQUITYBITES-August 25, 2011--Eloqua files to go public, names Deutsche, JPMorgan joint book-runners(C)2011 M2 COMMUNICATIONS
BANKING AND CREDIT NEWS-August 25, 2011--Eloqua files to go public, names Deutsche, JPMorgan joint book-runners(C)2011 M2 COMMUNICATIONS
We also find that when presidents do go public over the nominee, they engage in what Jacobs and Shapiro call "crafted talk": they emphasize the nominee's professional qualifications and positive personal qualities, not his or her often extreme ideological commitments.