civil service


Definition of civil service

: the administrative service of a government or international agency exclusive of the armed forces especially : one in which appointments are determined by competitive examination

Examples of civil service in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ideally, the internship and post-graduate work experience would inspire these young professionals to carry on in the civil service. CNN, "To recharge the country, Biden should give 1 million college students paid government internships," 29 Dec. 2020 Consistent with civil service rules, Trump loyalists should be removed from the lower ranks where possible. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Trump is wrecking the government on his way out," 19 Nov. 2020 But after Trump’s reign of terror and error, the upper levels of the civil service have been hollowed out in key departments. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Give Joe Biden a Break," 17 Dec. 2020 Case in point: In 2018, women made up only 37% of first-time appointments (French) to leadership positions in the three different branches of the civil service overall. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "The city of Paris was fined for putting too many women in charge," 16 Dec. 2020 European diplomats and officials have told me of the brilliance of the old British civil service before Brexit. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "John le Carré Knew England’s Secrets," 14 Dec. 2020 One of the best things government leaders can do is to open the door to them—by way of the civil service. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, The Economist, "Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on technocrats replacing Africa’s kleptocrats," 7 Dec. 2020 In April, Bernhardt named Prandoni, only three years out of law school, to a $114,000-a-year position that’s part of the career civil service. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "How Dozens of Trump’s Political Appointees Will Stay in Government After Biden Takes Over," 3 Dec. 2020 For decades administrations have failed to achieve meaningful civil service reform. WSJ, "Civil Service Shouldn’t Mean Unaccountable," 11 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil service.' 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 service

circa 1770, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for civil service

Time Traveler

The first known use of civil service was circa 1770

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Statistics for civil service

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Civil service.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for civil service

civil service


Kids Definition of civil service

: the branch of a government that takes care of the business of running the government and its programs but that does not include the legislature, the military, or the courts

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