civil

adjective
civ·​il | \ ˈsi-vəl How to pronounce civil (audio) \

Definition of civil

1a : of or relating to citizens civil duties
b : of or relating to the state or its citizenry civil strife
2a : civilized civil society
b : adequate in courtesy and politeness : mannerly a civil question It was hard to be civil when I felt so angry.
3a : of, relating to, or based on civil law
b : relating to private rights and to remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedings
c : established by law civil freedoms
4 : of, relating to, or involving the general public, their activities, needs, or ways, or civic affairs as distinguished from special (such as military or religious) affairs got married in a civil ceremony
5 of time : based on the mean sun and legally recognized for use in ordinary affairs the civil calendar

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for civil

Synonyms

national, public

Antonyms

nonnational

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for civil

civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding. civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness. owed the questioner a civil reply polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality. if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness. clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women. gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy. a gallant suitor of the old school chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior. a chivalrous display of duty

civil, polite, and courteous mean following the rules of good behavior. civil is used for showing only enough proper behavior to avoid being actually rude. I know you're angry but try to be civil. polite is used of good manners and thoughtfulness. The host was polite and made us feel at home. courteous is usually used for a politeness that is somewhat dignified. The salesclerks were trained to be courteous always.

Examples of civil in a Sentence

They got married in a civil ceremony at city hall. It was hard to be civil when I felt so angry. She was barely civil to me.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Pilot of Doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight Reported Control Problems Shortly After Takeoff," 13 Mar. 2019 Most of the highly paid professional workers at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies have little experience with labor unions, and many have avoided other civil movements. Joseph Menn, The Christian Science Monitor, "Silicon Valley employees increasingly push companies on ethics," 13 July 2018 Most Read Nation & World Stories On Monday, seven people who live near the storage facility filed what is believed to be the first civil lawsuit against ITC over the fire. Juan A. Lozano, The Seattle Times, "Environmental, economic damage a concern now that fire out," 26 Mar. 2019 Gary Woolever filed a civil lawsuit against Drew Morrison in January 2013. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "He Makes Suits for Sports Stars. He Is Also a Fugitive.," 14 Mar. 2019 Patient 2 did file a civil lawsuit, which remains pending. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Doctor, once hired by clinic that sees Tesla workers, just lost his license," 11 Dec. 2018 The Obama campaign’s infractions were civil, not criminal. Hope Yen, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump claims innocence in probe; wall myths," 7 Jan. 2019 Marca also notes that both parties are keen for the exit to be 'positive and civil'. SI.com, "Man Utd Consider Attempt to Beat Juventus to €100m Ronaldo Deal as Real Madrid Exit Looms," 6 July 2018 Phillips' attorney Steve Komie told the Tribune the review board determined Phillips hadn't violated any civil, canon or criminal law. Fox News, "Chicago priest stripped of duties amid misconduct probe," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of civil

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for civil

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin civilis, from civis — see civic

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about civil

Statistics for civil

Last Updated

3 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for civil

The first known use of civil was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for civil

civil

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of civil

: of or relating to the people who live in a country
: of or relating to the regular business of the people in a city, town, state, etc. : not connected to the military or to a religion
: polite but not friendly : only as polite as a person needs to be in order to not be rude

civil

adjective
civ·​il | \ ˈsi-vəl How to pronounce civil (audio) \

Kids Definition of civil

1 : of or relating to citizens civil rights
2 : of or relating to matters within a country
3 : of or relating to the regular business of citizens or government that is not connected to the military or a religion
4 : polite without being friendly Those men, they used to be best friends. Now they can't be civil with each other.— Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust
5 : relating to laws about private rights rather than criminal laws She brought a civil lawsuit against the maker of the defective car.

Other Words from civil

civilly adverb You must treat the other team civilly, at least.

civil

adjective
civ·​il | \ ˈsi-vəl How to pronounce civil (audio) \

Legal Definition of civil

1 : concerning, befitting, or applying to individual citizens or to citizens as a whole a civil duty — see also civil right
2 : marked by public order : peaceable in behavior
3 : of or relating to a legal system based on Roman law as opposed to the English common law
4 : relating to private rights and to judicial proceedings in connection with them especially : relating to legal matters other than those characterized as criminal a civil action a civil infraction
5 : defined by law : legal a civil disability
6 : of, relating to, or involving the general public, their activities, needs, ways, or civic affairs as distinguished from special (as military or religious) affairs the civil authorities the civil service

Other Words from civil

civilly adverb

History and Etymology for civil

Latin civilis, from civis citizen

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on civil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with civil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for civil

Spanish Central: Translation of civil

Nglish: Translation of civil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of civil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on civil

What made you want to look up civil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!