civil war


Definition of civil war 

: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

Examples of civil war in a Sentence

a region that has had many civil wars The country is on the brink of civil war.

Recent Examples on the Web

The report is the latest snapshot of the widespread atrocities committed in the world’s youngest nation over its five-year civil war. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "Gang-rapes, lynchings: UN tallies latest South Sudan abuses," 10 July 2018 Born in a Guatemalan village a four-hour drive from the capital, young Jhonnaton learned early about his native land’s civil war. Peter Rowe,, "Johnny Chinchilla: immigrant, veteran, cancer survivor, single father and, now, college grad," 27 May 2018 The clashes between forces that support President Daniel Ortega and demonstrators calling for his resignation mark the deadliest protests in Nicaragua since its civil war ended in 1990. NBC News, "Violence rings out at Nicaraguan church, university after nationwide strike," 14 July 2018 The policy was launched five years ago as Syria’s civil war showed no sign of ending and amid Israeli concerns that Islamist militants among the Syrian rebels might use the area to launch attacks against Israel. Dina Kraft, The Christian Science Monitor, "Syrian civil war, on Israel's doorstep, brings swirl of changing attitudes," 11 July 2018 South Sudan’s civil war has killed tens of thousands and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Sam Mednick, The Seattle Times, "South Sudan wants to extend president’s term until 2021," 3 July 2018 In Libya, civil war killed thousands of people and left much of the country ungoverned and vulnerable to terrorists, and the U.S., as usual, had no plan or desire to deal with the aftermath of intervention. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish," 5 June 2018 At least 76 people have been killed, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with close to 900 injured in what appears to be the largest protests the country has seen since the civil war ended in 1990. Natalie Gallón, CNN, "Nicaragua using 'shoot to kill' strategy on protesters, Amnesty International says," 29 May 2018 But the Chinese civil war had a momentum, a ruthlessness, all its own. James D. Hornfischer, WSJ, "‘The China Mission’ Review: The Man Who ‘Lost’ China," 3 May 2018

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

circa 1533, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for civil war

Last Updated

30 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for civil war

The first known use of civil war was circa 1533

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More Definitions for civil war

civil war


English Language Learners Definition of civil war

: a war between groups of people in the same country

civil war


Kids Definition of civil war

: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

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More from Merriam-Webster on civil war

Spanish Central: Translation of civil war

Nglish: Translation of civil war for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of civil war for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about civil war

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