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privilege (n.)

12世纪中叶“授予, 委托” (古英语记载较早, 但为拉丁语词), 来自古法语 privilege “权利, 优先权, 特权” (12世纪), 直接来自拉丁语 privilegium “适用于一个人的法律, 有利于或不利于个人的法律法案;” 在后奥古斯丁时期, “有利于个人的法令” (通常是免除一个人的法律实施), “特权, 特权”, 来自 privus “个人” (见 private (副词) ). + lex (属词 legis) “法律” (见 legal (副词) ).

来自13世纪为“与某种社会或宗教地位有关的权力或特权”. 意为“授予的优势, 授予某人或某团体的特殊权利或恩惠, 某人或某团体所享有的超越其他个人的共同优势的权利, 豁免权, 利益或优势” 是从14世纪中期的英语. 从14世纪末开始作为“法律豁免或免除”.

原指教皇授予的豁免或许可, 或授予当权者或在职者的特殊豁免或优势(如言论自由) 等; 在现代, 随着法律面前人人平等的普遍性, 用于指所有公民共有的基本权利(人身保护令, 投票权等).

Privilege is also more loosely used for any special advantage: as, the privilege of intimacy with people of noble character. Prerogative is a right of precedence, an exclusive privilege, an official right, a right indefeasible on account of one's character or position : as, the Stuart kings were continually asserting the royal prerogative, but parliament resisted any infringement upon its privileges. [Century Dictionary]

中世纪英语也有 pravilege “恶法或特权” (14世纪末), 来自中世纪拉丁文 pravilegium, 用 pravus “错误的, 坏的” 代替 privilegium.

privilege (v.)

14世纪末, privilegen, “赋予(某人) 特殊的权利, 恩典, 权力等; 赋予特权”, 来自 privilege (n.) 和古法语 privilegier (13世纪), 来自中世纪拉丁语 privilegare, 来自拉丁语 privilegium “适用于一个人的法律”. 相关链接: Privileged; privileging.

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Definitions of privilege from WordNet
1
privilege (n.)
a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all;
privilege (n.)
a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right);
Synonyms: prerogative / perquisite / exclusive right
privilege (n.)
(law) the right to refuse to divulge information obtained in a confidential relationship;
2
privilege (v.)
bestow a privilege upon;
Synonyms: favor / favour
From wordnet.princeton.edu