un·​civ·​i·​lized | \ ˌən-ˈsi-və-ˌlīzd How to pronounce uncivilized (audio) \

Definition of uncivilized

1 : not civilized: such as
a somewhat old-fashioned : not polite, reasonable, or respectable : objectionable according to social norms uncivilized language/behavior often used humorously We were awakened at an uncivilized hour.Only the uncivilized would put lettuce and tomato on a true cheeseburger, which God decreed to be accompanied by mustard and dill pickle only.— Phil Musick
b : showing gross disregard for the law or for the fair and humane treatment of people or animals a brutal and uncivilized punishment Looting was a wild, lawless, uncivilized thing to do, but I saw enough of it during World War II to understand how even a relatively civilized soldier could do it.— Andrew A. Rooney
c old-fashioned + often offensive : not having the kinds of social systems, technologies, etc. that are seen in most modern societies uncivilized [=primitive] cultures
2 : remote from settled areas : wild … a hidden river, entirely uncivilized with no roads or trails touching it …— Patricia Spring

Examples of uncivilized in a Sentence

He was awakened at an uncivilized hour. They believe that capital punishment is uncivilized.
Recent Examples on the Web Forcing a woman to choose between jail and carrying her rapist's baby is uncivilized and medieval. CNN, 27 June 2022 There is no doubt uncivilized — and sometimes violent — acts have taken place in school bathrooms. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 26 June 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 Sure, the song (apparently written about writer Quentin Crisp) is just about the alienating sense of being an outsider, of having people judge you for your accent or aspiring to civility in an uncivilized land. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Apr. 2022 Whereas Saidian Orientalism understood the Eastern Other as fundamentally backward and uncivilized, however, techno-Orientalism presents an upgraded vision of the Asian as threateningly futuristic and advanced. Jane Hu, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2022 The Qing emperors themselves were not Han either, but Manchu, a people from the other side of the Great Wall who had traditionally been regarded as uncivilized nomads. Ian Buruma, Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 There is only one religion in uncivilized society, and that is Kendall Roy. Natalie Lin, Vulture, 3 Dec. 2021 Hollywood has painted our state as a wild, uncivilized frontier filled with dangers and adventure. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 16 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of uncivilized

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of uncivilized was in 1607

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Last Updated

23 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Uncivilized.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncivilized. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for uncivilized


un·​civ·​i·​lized | \ ˌən-ˈsi-və-ˌlīzd How to pronounce uncivilized (audio) \

Kids Definition of uncivilized

1 : having, relating to, or being like a culture that is not advanced
2 : not having or showing good manners : rude

More from Merriam-Webster on uncivilized

Nglish: Translation of uncivilized for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uncivilized for Arabic Speakers

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