Definition of civilize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsivəˌlīz/


[with object] (usually as adjective civilized)
1Bring (a place or people) to a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced: a civilized society
More example sentences
  • They must take the lead in civilising our streets and reclaiming them for local communities.
  • There is clearly a major confrontation at the moment about how we in Australia find our own way to civilize global capital.
  • Both countries have a spying and military heritage, and both feel they have a mission to civilise the world.
enlighten, edify, improve, educate, instruct, refine, cultivate, polish, socialize, humanize
1.1 (as adjective civilized) Polite and well-mannered: such an affront to civilized behavior will no longer be tolerated
More example sentences
  • Training a child to sit at table and eat food in a civilized manner is one of the basic rituals of culture.
  • We stuffed ourselves silly when the pizza arrived, of course in a civilized manner.
  • He not only wants the best food, he wants to be handled in a civilized manner, too.





Pronunciation: /ˈsivəˌlīzər/
Example sentences
  • Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive instincts.
  • Never in modem times has the world been in greater need of this gentle civilizer.
  • In her poetry, this is apparent in the representation of prairie homesteaders as cultivators and, by extension, civilizers of an untamed western wilderness.


Early 17th century: from French civiliser, from civil 'civil'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: civ·i·lize

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