A privilege—etymologically "private law" or law relating to a specific individual—is an honour, or permissive activity granted by another person or even a government. A privilege is not a right and in some cases can be revoked. For example in most countries driving on publicly-maintained roads is a privilege, if one violates certain rules driving privileges can be revoked.
Defining the difference between a 'privilege' and a 'right' is difficult. In authentic democracies a 'privilege' is granted to a few after birth, and a 'right' is an entitlement to all mankind from birth. A privileged class, in less-than-perfect democracies, is often embodied in power and wealth. Compare elite.
Last updated: 05-17-2005 10:41:27