Definition of civilian in English:


Line breaks: ci¦vil|ian
Pronunciation: /sɪˈvɪlj(ə)n


  • 1A person not in the armed services or the police force: terrorists and soldiers have killed tens of thousands of civilians
    More example sentences
    • Eight more police and two civilians died when their vehicles ran over mines.
    • The awards are made to civilians and police officers who put their lives at risk to save others.
    • People were brutally assaulted by police, and by civilians who acted in collusion to them.
    non-military person, non-combatant, ordinary citizen, private citizen
    informal civvy
  • 1.1 informal A person who is not a member of a particular profession or group, as viewed by a member of that group: I talk to a lot of actresses and they say that civilians are scared of them
    More example sentences
    • Many civilians outside the wonderful world of the City, having been lectured about their overdrafts, assumed that the banks were paragons of financial conservatism.
    • Was he a civilian or a celebrity?
    • People in show business refer to those outside of it as civilians.


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late Middle English (denoting a practitioner of civil law): from Old French civilien, in the phrase droit civilien 'civil law'. The current sense arose in the early 19th century.

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