civilian

1 of 2

noun

ci·​vil·​ian sə-ˈvil-yən How to pronounce civilian (audio)
 also  -ˈvi-yən
1
: a specialist in Roman or modern civil law
2
a
: one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force

civilian

2 of 2

adjective

1
a
: of, relating to, or made up of civilians
civilian concerns/demands
the civilian population
civilian customers/casualties
The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian honors in the United States.
b
: having the status of a civilian
a civilian pilot
2
: operated or controlled by civilians
civilian industry
: possessed by or vested in civilians
civilian authority
3
: intended or suited for use or consumption by civilians
civilian goods
With twin 2,520-horsepower engines and up to 19 seats, the Sikorsky S-92 is among the world's most powerful civilian helicopters.Josh Harkinson

Examples of civilian in a Sentence

Noun The bomb injured 12 civilians.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
All stories and all civilians affected by war are equally important and equally deserve attention. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 The civilians tackle one subject on the exit ramp from the tunnel. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 15 Feb. 2024 Ulrika Richardson, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Port-au-Prince, said that civilians, particularly children, are bearing the brunt of the violence. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 Key Facts Key Background ore than 10,000 civilians have died since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, according to Thursday's report. Mary Whitfill Roeloffs, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Chief Graves praised the response of her department’s officers and firefighters, and also noted that civilians themselves had sprung into action. Colbi Edmonds, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Monday’s barrage comes more than four months into the most devastating conflict the Gaza Strip has witnessed, triggered by the militant group Hamas’ blitz operation on Oct. 7, which killed about 1,200 people, two-thirds of them civilians. A Times Special Correspondent, With Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 13 Feb. 2024 In the southern city of Khan Younis, where the Israeli military urged large numbers of civilians to flee in the early days of the war, the devastation witnessed by CNN was described as being beyond imagination. Helen Regan, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 With other locals, the men evacuated about 1,500 civilians using two small fishing boats, crossing the river’s 10-mile breadth with up to 16 people per boat, three times per day. Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024
Adjective
The agency attends to the needs of the civilian population — food distribution, shelter, health care, schooling, salaries — promoting stability. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 There’s been a 20% increase in the number of women in the Ukrainian armed forces in both military and civilian roles since war with Russia began in the eastern Donbas region in 2014, according to Ukraine’s Armed Forces Personnel Center. Svitlana Vaslova, CNN, 18 Feb. 2024 In another recent ruling, the civilian commission said that three Rampart Division officers were justified in fatally shooting a woman who had pointed what turned out to be a replica revolver in their direction. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2024 On February 14, indiscriminate Russian shelling of the city of Kherson killed two people and caused serious damage to the city’s civilian infrastructure. Katya Soldak, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Like other parts of Ukraine’s civilian technology, the city pivoted its tools to keep people safe and support the war effort, bootstrapping and rewiring the systems at pace. Peter Guest, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2024 In 2017, a pair of Navy destroyers, the USS McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, collided with civilian ships in the Pacific in separate incidents, killing 17 sailors. Gil Barndollar, TIME, 12 Feb. 2024 The Board of Police Commissioners, the LAPD’s civilian policymaking body, is set to discuss the hiring of an interim chief at its regular weekly meeting Tuesday at police headquarters. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Two Navy SEALs died after going overboard during an interdiction operation in the Arabian Sea and an American civilian contractor died of a heart attack during a false alarm for a strike. Peter Baker, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'civilian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of civilian was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near civilian

Cite this Entry

“Civilian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/civilian. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

civilian

noun
ci·​vil·​ian sə-ˈvil-yən How to pronounce civilian (audio)
: a person not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force
civilian adjective

Legal Definition

civilian

1 of 2 noun
ci·​vil·​ian
: a specialist in Roman or modern civil law

civilian

2 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to civil law as distinguished from common law
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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