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

Twenty-seven years of civil war, from the ousting of the Portuguese in 1975 until 2002, had torn the place apart. USA Today, "Were Wanda Tucker’s ancestors America’s first slaves? A difficult search for answers in far-away Angola," 22 Aug. 2019 For all the hand-wringing that preceded the Libyan intervention, no one in the Obama White House seems to have given serious consideration to what would happen if a civil war broke out. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 Ten years ago a horrendous civil war ended in a massive government assault on Tamil rebels on a narrow strip of beach in the north of the island, overseen by Mr Rajapaksa, who was secretary of defence at the time. The Economist, "An election campaign in Sri Lanka stirs old ghosts," 5 Sep. 2019 My character, Lilly, journeys to Ethiopia and is caught up in the breakout of civil war. Alexia Fernandez,, "Dakota Fanning Speaks Out Amid Backlash to Her Role As a Muslim Woman in New Movie," 5 Sep. 2019 This second civil war is taking place within the battle lines of an ongoing internecine struggle between northern rebels and the government. Bobby Ghosh, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: The last thing Yemen needed was a second civil war," 24 Aug. 2019 Case took years In the 1980s, the Reagan administration aggressively used detention of Central Americans as a device to deter migration from that region, where violent civil wars had caused tens of thousands to flee. Kevin Johnson, The Conversation, "Changes for a landmark agreement mean immigrant children face harsher treatment in US," 22 Aug. 2019 Before civil war broke out, Caesar had already chalked up some astounding military victories. Andrea Frediani, National Geographic, "Julius Caesar came. He saw. He conquered. Here's how Rome celebrated.," 10 July 2019 Early national legislation aimed to limit slavery, until compromise was no longer possible and a bloody civil war broke out. Randy Blaser,, "Column: This Fourth of July, take a moment to reflect on our nation’s founding," 28 June 2019

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

16 Oct 2019

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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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