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 Ivory Coast’s last political crisis triggered a civil war that killed approximately 3,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. Washington Post, "Two West African presidents are out of terms. They’re running again, anyway.," 16 Oct. 2020 One faction is neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to start a racial civil war. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "How social media played a critical role in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot," 10 Oct. 2020 Authorities said the men's alleged plot was part of a broader mission to instigate a civil war, and the FBI and Michigan's attorney general outlined felony domestic terrorism charges against the group's organizers. Frank Witsil, USA TODAY, "Michigan extremists plotted to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, start civil war. Here's why the state is a 'hotbed' for similar groups," 9 Oct. 2020 The story is rife with humor and compassion, plenty of gunfights and a few welcome elements of a heist flick, as Brown plans the Harpers Ferry raid that would help spark a civil war. Carvell Wallace, New York Times, "‘The Good Lord Bird’ Is Good TV. But Mix Art and Slavery at Your Peril.," 6 Oct. 2020 Princess Rhaenyra's younger half-brother who challenges Rhaenyra's claim to the throne, igniting a civil war. James Hibberd,, "House of the Dragon," 5 Oct. 2020 Electric Boogaloo, whose followers expect a second civil war in the United States. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "How Memes Ruined the World," 30 Sep. 2020 The other was deadly serious, and some who ventured there ended up spoiling for civil war, committing violent crimes, and brandishing knives, guns, and bullwhips against their phantoms. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "The Fantasy of Pokémon Go Is More Important Than Ever," 22 Sep. 2020 Boogaloo supporters, who use the movement’s name as a slang term for a second civil war or collapse of civilization, frequently show up at protests armed with rifles and wearing Hawaiian shirts. Amy Forliti,, "‘Boogaloo Bois’ face terrorism charges in Minnesota for allegedly trying to sell silencers to Hamas, offering to be ‘mercenaries’," 5 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for civil war

Time Traveler

The first known use of civil war was circa 1533

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Statistics for civil war

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Civil war.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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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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