Definition of civil
1a : of or relating to citizens civil dutiesb : of or relating to the state or its citizenry civil strife
3a : of, relating to, or based on civil lawb : relating to private rights and to remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedingsc : 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
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.
Recent Examples of civil from the Web
DuBose’s sister Terina Allen said Tensing violated the 43-year-old DuBose’s civil right to life when the then-University of Cincinnati officer shot him during a traffic stop July 19, 2015.
Johnson was interviewed as part of a federal civil rights investigation into allegations of misconduct by police and prosecutors against the four men.
The civil suit, filed by the former Explorer identified only as N.C., also claims the police department attempted to conceal the allegations.
Policing Policies: Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back the Obama-era reforms on civil-asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that lets police seize property from citizens before they’ve been charged with a crime.
Counter-suits are a common tactic in civil legal actions between businesses.
Civil asset forfeiture is unjust and unconstitutional.
There was also a vigil outside the capital before the act of civil disobedience.
Nye has served on the Sixth District bench since 2007, handling criminal and civil cases.
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.
Synonym Discussion of civil
CIVIL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of civil for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of civil for Students
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.
civillyadverb You must treat the other team civilly, at least.
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
Origin and Etymology of civil
Latin civilis, from civis citizen
Seen and Heard
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