noun | priv·i·lege
  1. a : an exemption from liability where an action is deemed to be justifiable (as in the case of self-defense) or because of the requirements of a position or office; also : the affirmative defense that an action is privileged — compare excuse : the affirmative defense that an action is privileged — compare excuse

    — absolute privilege
    : a privilege that exempts a person from liability especially for defamation regardless of intent or motive; specifically : a privilege that exempts high public officials (as legislators) from liability for statements made while acting in their official capacity without regard to intent or malice

    — qualified privilege
    : a privilege especially in the law of defamation that may be defeated especially by a showing of actual malice — called also conditional privilege

    b : an exemption from a requirement to disclose information (as for trial) that is granted because of a relationship or position that demands confidentiality the attorney-client privilege the doctor-patient privilege the marital privilege the priest-penitent privilege — see also confidential communication

    — deliberative process privilege
    : a privilege exempting the government from disclosure (as in discovery) of government agency materials containing opinions, recommendations, and other communications that are part of the decision-making process within the agency

    — executive privilege
    : a privilege exempting the executive branch of government from disclosing communications if such disclosure would adversely affect the functions and decision-making process of that branch — see also United States v. Nixon Note: Executive privilege is based on the separation of powers doctrine. In United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court held that this privilege is not absolute and that without a claim of a need to protect military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, the need for evidence in a criminal trial will outweigh a general assertion of executive privilege.

    — informant's privilege
    : the privilege of the government to withhold the identity of an informant who has provided evidence for a criminal trial — called also informer's privilege

    — journalist's privilege
    : reporter's privilege in this entry

    — privilege against self-incrimination
    : a privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting a person from compulsion to make self-incriminating statements

    — reporter's privilege
    : a privilege protecting a reporter from compulsion to reveal information acquired in the course of gathering news — called also journalist's privilege

    c : something specially permitted or granted as a matter of discretion that may be limited or taken away right to…mooring permit is not necessarily created because discretionary state privilege was generously granted in [the] past —National Law Journal — compare right

    d : a right of a creditor conferred by the nature of a debt to have priority over the debtor's other creditors

  1. : any of various fundamental or specially sacred rights considered as particularly guaranteed to all persons by a constitution and especially by the privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution