civil war


plural civil wars
: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country
a country on the brink of (a) civil war
often used in the capitalized names of specific wars
the Spanish Civil War
(American/U.S.) Civil War monuments

Note: The American Civil War, fought 1861–1865 between the United States and 11 southern states that had seceded from it, is also commonly known as the U.S. Civil War, or especially in the U.S. as the War Between the States or simply the Civil War.

Examples of civil war in a Sentence

a region that has had many civil wars The country is on the brink of civil war.
Recent Examples on the Web The trailer sees the royal try to avoid civil war in the country and going head to head with Queen Elizabeth I of England (Minnie Driver). Selena Kuznikov, Variety, 8 July 2024 Soon thereafter, New Englanders would invade New York to secure control of the Hudson River, setting off a civil war with unknowable consequences. Eli Merritt, TIME, 4 July 2024 Season 5 returns to a civil war between LC Duncan (Hudson) and clan and their biggest enemy to date—one of his own sons. Bruce Haring, Deadline, 27 June 2024 In this beleaguered part of the country, which has suffered decades of violence, turmoil and civil war, many people see the hippos as a potential economic lifeline. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for civil war 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'civil war.' 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

circa 1533, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of civil war was circa 1533

Dictionary Entries Near civil war

Cite this Entry

“Civil war.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

civil war

: a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country or nation
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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