: relating to private rights and to remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedings
: established by law
: 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
of time: based on the theoretical mean sun and legally recognized for use in ordinary affairs
the civil calendar
Esoteric and sometimes outlandish balloons were floated: If we're not going to worry about civil time matching solar time, for instance, why not simplify global timekeeping even more by reducing the number of global time zones from twenty-four to five?—Michelle Stacey
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called a 'civil war'?
The sense of civil found in civil war is not the one meaning "mannerly," or the one meaning "civilized." It is the word’s earliest sense in English, “of or relating to citizens,” as a civil war refers to one between citizens of the same country.
What is civil disobedience?
We define civil disobedience as "refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government." Some notable examples of civil disobedience are the cases of Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin, black women who refused to give up their seats on public buses, when white passengers—and a city ordinance—demanded that they do so.
What is civil service?
A country's civil service is the part of the government that takes care of the government's basic business. It is the administrative part of the government, and independent of the military, and the occupations of its members are neither political nor judicial. In most countries, the term civil service refers to employees selected and promoted on the basis of a merit and seniority system, which may include examinations.
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
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 on the WebResearch shows that 85% of people in the civil legal system end up representing themselves.—The Sorenson Impact Institute, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 One is whether the statutory provisions that give the SEC power to initiate administrative enforcement proceedings seeking civil penalties violate the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.—Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, 29 Nov. 2023 When Deutsche Bank loaned Donald Trump’s company hundreds of millions lawyers of dollars, the bank always followed its own guidelines that include checking out information that would-be borrowers provide, an executive testified Tuesday at the former president’s civil fraud trial.—Jennifer Peltz, Fortune, 29 Nov. 2023 But opponents and civil society have accused Modi of using the airwaves to push his political agenda.—Adil Rashid, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2023 Trump takes the stand: Former President Donald Trump will take the stand in his own defense in his civil fraud trial in New York next month.—Mark Murray, NBC News, 28 Nov. 2023 Netflix then depicts what appears to be the 2005 civil ceremony wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, who are now known as King Charles and Queen Camilla, played by Dominic West and Olivia Williams.—Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 The 216th members have supported numerous domestic missions, such as disaster relief efforts in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, and various active-duty missions across the state in support of civil unrest and natural disasters.—Tony Holt, arkansasonline.com, 23 Nov. 2023 Neither Guzman nor his attorney in the civil suit immediately responded to a request for comment.—Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'civil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin civilis, from civis — see civic