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

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 The residents meticulously preserve baseball’s rich and vast history while offering visitors with an unforgettable experience based on simplicity and civility. Wayne G. Mcdonnell, Jr., Forbes, 24 July 2022 Privileging logic, Holmes has little time for civility or compassion. New York Times, 6 July 2022 When the world is haywire, fashion can reflect it, but just as powerful is clothing that knows how to lend civility and comfort. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 June 2022 But between all the bombshells, something else remarkable emerged from the smoke: the sight of Republicans and Democrats treating one another with civility and respect on a public stage, no matter the radioactive material that brought them together. Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2022 His remarks caused raised eyebrows around the room and whispered critiques for such pointed remarks during a celebration of civility and cooperation. Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 California's senior senator is a believer in bipartisanship, civility and working across the aisle. Jill Filipovic, CNN, 8 June 2022 My parents and grandparents expected respect, civility and courtesy. WSJ, 30 May 2022 Roxane Gay: For all our cultural obsession with civility, there is nothing more uncivilized than the political establishment’s acceptance of the constancy of mass shootings. New York Times, 26 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near civility

civiliter mortuus



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Statistics for civility

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Civility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for civility


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on civility

Nglish: Translation of civility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of civility for Arabic Speakers


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