mid-12c. "grant, commission" (recorded earlier in Old English, but as a Latin word), from Old French privilege "right, priority, privilege" (12c.) and directly from Latin privilegium "law applying to one person, bill of law in favor of or against an individual," in the post-Augustine period "an ordinance in favor of an individual, privilege, prerogative," from privus "individual" (see private (adj.)) + lex (genitive legis) "law" (see legal (adj.)). Meaning "advantage granted" is from mid-14c. in English.
early 14c., privilegen, "to invest with a privilege," from privilege (n.) and from Old French privilegier (13c.), from Medieval Latin privilegare, from Latin privilegium. Related: Privileged; priviledging.
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