civility

noun
ci·​vil·​i·​ty | \ sə-ˈvi-lə-tē How to pronounce civility (audio) \
plural civilities

Definition of civility

1a : civilized conduct especially : courtesy, politeness bemoaned the decline of civility in our politics
b : a polite act or expression lacked the little civilities and hypocrisies of political society— Roy Jenkins The men briefly exchanged civilities before the meeting began.
2 archaic : training in the humanities

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Examples of civility in a Sentence

They greeted each other with the usual exchange of civilities. after the usual civilities, the parents and the principal had a serious talk about the boy
Recent Examples on the Web On Tuesday night, Biden’s ties to Barack Obama and his promise to restore American politics to the era of relative civility that existed before Trump won the day. Joshua Green, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Beat Sanders—But It Won’t Be Easy to Shake Him Off," 10 May 2020 But there has been far more evidence of mankind's civility. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Westworld season 3 finale recap: Apocalypse now," 4 May 2020 Melville broke through American myopia, vanishing over many horizons, rubbing shoulders with apostates, seeing civility in savages, savagery in the civilized and ruinous obedience to mad tyrants. Carl Safina, New York Times, "Melville’s Whale Was a Warning We Failed to Heed," 2 May 2020 Stone found the Navy a step up in civility, despite his experience of fighting off a rape aboard ship by using a chain to defend himself. Charles Baxter, Harper's Magazine, "Fun with Problems," 27 Apr. 2020 Stone found the Navy a step up in civility, despite his experience of fighting off a rape aboard ship by using a chain to defend himself. Charles Baxter, Harper's magazine, "Fun with Problems," 2 Mar. 2020 Republicans then made earnest statements about decorum, and norms, and civility. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Perfect Republicans, &c.," 10 Feb. 2020 What is essential is to keep the dialogue on a level of mutual respect and civility. oregonlive, "Portland Commissioner Position 2 candidates select which city bureaus they would like to oversee," 26 Apr. 2020 In any case, the Scrambler benefits from the presence of the traditional Jeep geegaws, like a doorstep, a windshield hinge, hood locks, and battering-ram bumpers, while offering a measure of Wagoneer-like civility on the highway. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, "From the Archive: 1981 Jeep Scrambler," 17 Apr. 2020

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

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for civility

see civil

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Time Traveler for civility

Time Traveler

The first known use of civility was in 1533

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Statistics for civility

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Civility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/civility. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for civility

civility

noun
How to pronounce civility (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of civility

formal
: polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior
: polite actions and words

civility

noun
ci·​vil·​i·​ty | \ sə-ˈvi-lə-tē How to pronounce civility (audio) \
plural civilities

Kids Definition of civility

1 : polite behavior The sparrows showed no kindness or civility to one another …— Brian Jacques, Redwall
2 : a polite act or thing to say He offered no civilities, not even a hello.

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Comments on civility

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