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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 ?
The researchers assessed the participants' publicness heuristic levels by asking questions about the extent to which they generally feel it is safe to manage the personal business in public.
It is perhaps possible to fashion an argument for the publicness of images after Wittgenstein's criticism, reinterpret mental images as part of a language game of sorts, and hence both linguistic and public, but Mitchell does not follow this route.
with respect to the "publicness" of the project for which the
What emerges from Mamfakinch's mediations of the Filali affair is a restructuring of interactions between publics and power, resulting in new modes of publicness that are both deeply local and transcend locality.
Recent scholarship maintains that publicness is indeed captured by the extent to which an organization is subject to political authority, while also positing that "current operationalizations [of publicness] are not sufficient to account for public outcomes, as would be predicted by the full underlying theory of dimensional publicness" (Moulton, 2009, 899; see also Boyne, 2002; Heinrich and Fournier, 2004).
The notion of what is public--'publicness'--is neither fixed nor incontrovertible.
These moves signify a relation of re-centring the radical publicness of the biennale.
A library is a focal point, a sacred place to a community; and its sacredness is its accessibility, its publicness. It's everybody's place.
In his paper The Limitations of the Public Goods Theory, the Lighthouse Revisited, he raises two questions: "identifying goods and services which embody and retain the characteristic of publicness" and "justifying taxation rather than pricing as a method of financing a public good" (Peacock, 1979, p.
Public-private partnerships: Perspectives on purposes, publicness, and good governance.
As Francis Slade has shown, Christianity cannot live in the privacy of the heart: it is the religion of publicness because it is the religion of truth, truth that is accessible to all men, regardless of education and social class.