civilian

noun
ci·​vil·​ian | \ sə-ˈvil-yən How to pronounce civilian (audio) also -ˈvi-yən\

Definition of civilian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a specialist in Roman or modern civil law
2a : one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force

civilian

adjective

Definition of civilian (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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

Till date, over 500,000 people have been displaced according to independent monitors while local rights organizations say over 2,000 civilians, government and separatist fighters have been killed. Amindeh Blaise Atabong, Quartz Africa, "Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leaders have been jailed for life," 20 Aug. 2019 The Survival Condo vault, which cost the military millions to build, was sold to a civilian in 1967 for $3,030 and passed through several owners before making it to Mr. Hall. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "A Boom Time for the Bunker Business and Doomsday Capitalists," 13 Aug. 2019 July was the most lethal month for civilians in two years, with 1,500 dead or wounded, according to the United Nations. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Talking in Qatar, bombing in Kabul. How to explain the Taliban?," 9 Aug. 2019 But for civilians in Syria, there is very seldom a good way out of their problems. Alessandria Masi, CNN, "Thousands are trapped in a desert settlement in Syria, near a US military base," 1 Aug. 2019 Murphy, a civilian in the department, does not carry a badge or a gun. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Two teens arrested in robbery of Baltimore police deputy commissioner face charges for other armed crimes," 26 July 2019 The expedition, planned since 1961 and costing about $24 billion, is led by civilian, 38 year-old Neil Armstrong. Houston Chronicle, "Apollo Breaks Out of Earth’s Pull," 21 July 2019 Saudi Arabia has killed hundreds of civilians in neighboring Yemen with airstrikes from U.S.-made weapons, several thousand have died in the fighting, and millions are starving and displaced. Mythili Sampathkumar, Fortune, "U.S. to Send More Troops to Saudi Arabia," 18 July 2019 Ten days ago a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces ripped through a busy west Kabul neighborhood, killing 14 people and wounding 145 — most of them women, children and other civilians. Washington Post, "The Latest: Witness says children killed in Kabul blast," 18 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civilian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of civilian

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about civilian

Statistics for civilian

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for civilian

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for civilian

civilian

noun

English Language Learners Definition of civilian

: a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force

civilian

noun
ci·​vil·​ian | \ sə-ˈvil-yən How to pronounce civilian (audio) \

Kids Definition of civilian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is not a member of a military, police, or firefighting force

civilian

adjective

Kids Definition of civilian (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to people who are not members of a military, police, or firefighting force After serving in the army, he got a civilian job.

civilian

noun
ci·​vil·​ian

Legal Definition of civilian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a specialist in Roman or modern civil law

civilian

adjective

Legal Definition of civilian (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to civil law as distinguished from common law

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on civilian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with civilian

Spanish Central: Translation of civilian

Nglish: Translation of civilian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of civilian for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about civilian

Comments on civilian

What made you want to look up civilian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!