Definition of civil in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɪv(ə)l/


1 [attributive] Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters: civil aviation
More example sentences
  • Specific mission requirements also require the additional task organization of military police, civil affairs, and aviation assets.
  • The second use of the Law concerns civil matters.
  • But the link between civil aviation deals and military follow-ups is well established.
secular, non-religious, lay
rare laic, laical
non-military, civilian
1.1(Of conflict) occurring between citizens of the same country: civil strife
More example sentences
  • There were territorial conflicts, wars, civil disputes, arguments and resentment.
  • It is dedicated to helping women survivors of wars and civil strife and conflict to move from being victims to survivors to activists in their own communities.
  • In the aftermath of disasters, public health services must address the effects of civil strife, armed conflict, population migration, economic collapse, and famine.
internal, domestic, interior, home;
national, state, local
1.2 Law Relating to private relations between members of a community; non-criminal: a civil action a civil court
More example sentences
  • When the activities of a public body, or individual, are relevant to a private law dispute in civil proceedings, public law may in a similar way provide answers which are relevant to the resolution of the private law issue.
  • The January 2003 agreement was signed prior to the commencement of any civil proceedings.
  • With no criminal proceedings pending in the case, the family instituted civil proceedings.
1.3 Law Relating to civil law.
Example sentences
  • Napoleon was a universalist who believed in a common civil code for all his conquered subjects.
  • The Jordanian civil legal system has its foundations in the Code Napoléon, a French legal code.
  • The fact of the matter is that in Britain and in Ireland, our legal systems are based on a common law system, while in many continental countries it is based on a civil legal system.
2Courteous and polite: they were comparatively civil to their daughter they try to work out their differences in a civil manner
More example sentences
  • The point of being polite or civil to another human being is not to demonstrate superiority, it is to demonstrate respect.
  • I'll be polite and civil to him, and I honestly don't think he wants anything more than that.
  • Whatever his problem may be, he does not belong in a service occupation if he cannot act in a civil and courteous manner toward his guests.
polite, courteous, well mannered, well bred, gentlemanly, chivalrous, gallant, ladylike, gracious, respectful;
refined, urbane, polished, cultured, cultivated, civilized, cordial, genial, pleasant, affable, obliging
British informal decent
dated mannerly
3(Of time) fixed by custom or law rather than being natural or astronomical: civil twilight
More example sentences
  • Now one might expect that this measurement of time would either give the number of ritual calendar years since creation or the number of civil calendar years since creation.
  • Later a more accurate value of 365 1/4 days was worked out for the length of the year but the civil calendar was never changed to take this into account.
  • Because the calendar had to be changed regularly to keep the civil calendar in phase with the astronomical one, the parapegma had movable pegs which could be adjusted as necessary.



Pronunciation: /ˈsɪvəli/
Example sentences
  • One of the gentry he used to ferry about, a decent cove who always treated him civilly, writes letters and the sentence is commuted to transportation.
  • And that doesn't go away because he settled civilly.
  • Though we have profound differences, he is saying, we have to reason about them civilly instead of dismissing, insulting, and demonizing one another.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin civilis, from civis 'citizen'.

Words that rhyme with civil

drivel, shrivel, snivel, swivel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: civil

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