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 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for civil

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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

Frequently Asked Questions About civil

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In 2018, Germany’s top civil court ruled that, under international law, a state was not obligated to pay out compensation to individuals. New York Times, "European Court Backs Germany in Case Over 2009 Killings of Afghan Civilians," 16 Feb. 2021 The median award of $71,355 was more than three times what people collected for similar cases filed in civil court. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "'The worst possible time': HHS gives cold shoulder to victims of common vaccine injury," 4 Feb. 2021 The court will be able to handle 35 participants who will essentially have an organized treatment plan backed by a civil court order. Sara Pagones, NOLA.com, "New north shore court to help mentally ill people get treatment - and stick with it," 30 Jan. 2021 Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez — who is scheduled to discuss the change in funding during a Commissioners Court meeting today — said the county will still be able to back a new civil court. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Bexar County District Attorney’s Office to hire more family violence prosecutors, resolving clash over $1 million," 12 Jan. 2021 The federal government wants to seize the $3.5 million, seven-bedroom house, saying in civil court filings the estate was purchased with money connected to a wire fraud scheme. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "Couple buys mansion in Seminole County with fraudulent $7.2 million PPP loan, feds say," 23 Dec. 2020 The bill also authorizes companies to pursue people who harm infrastructure in civil court. cleveland, "Lawmakers pass bill increasing penalties for trespassing, committing crimes at oil refineries, power stations, natural gas pipelines, other projects," 22 Dec. 2020 Ripple said it was informed by the commission on Monday that regulators soon plan to sue the company, Chief Executive Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen in federal civil court. Paul Vigna, WSJ, "Ripple to Face SEC Suit Over XRP Cryptocurrency," 22 Dec. 2020 Howard's case is expected to move into civil court next week as his attorney sues the state and city for monetary compensation and damages. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Wrongly imprisoned for 26 years, Detroit man will spend this Christmas with loved ones," 19 Dec. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for civil

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for civil

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Civil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/civil. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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.

Choose the Right Synonym for civil

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.

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on civil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for civil

Nglish: Translation of civil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of civil for Arabic Speakers

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