- of, relating to, or consisting of citizens: civil life; civil society.
- of the commonwealth or state: civil affairs.
- of citizens in their ordinary capacity, or of the ordinary life and affairs of citizens, as distinguished from military and ecclesiastical life and affairs.
- of the citizen as an individual: civil liberty.
- befitting a citizen: a civil duty.
- of, or in a condition of, social order or organized government; civilized: civil peoples.
- adhering to the norms of polite social intercourse; not deficient in common courtesy: After their disagreement, their relations were civil though not cordial.
- marked by benevolence: He was a very civil sort, and we liked him immediately.
- (of divisions of time) legally recognized in the ordinary affairs of life: the civil year.
- of or relating to civil law.
Origin of civil
SynonymsSee more synonyms for civil on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for civil
They are, to say the least, preparing for civil war (the polling stations are stormed by armed gangs).Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President
January 9, 2015
Rashad was there to celebrate the release of the Civil Rights drama Selma.Phylicia Rashad and the Cult of Cosby Truthers
January 8, 2015
An attack on journalists anywhere is an attack on civil society everywhere.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too
January 8, 2015
The scheme has been condemned by civil liberties groups and queried by the National Association of Head Teachers.Britain May Spy on Preschoolers Searching for Potential Jihadis
January 7, 2015
On Friday, the story had looked like it might blow over as Buckingham Palace sought to dismiss it as a “civil case.”Buckingham Palace Disputes Sex Allegations Against Prince ‘Randy Andy’
January 4, 2015
Yet he is not possessed of the civil rights which citizenship should carry with it.
In the following century came the three sieges of the Civil War.Yorkshire Painted And Described
“I can walk,” he said, with a little friendly laugh to the civil driver.The Secret Agent
It might be thought that I would have a right to civil answers here.In the Valley
In 1875 he was created an honorary member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.Heroes of the Telegraph
- of the ordinary life of citizens as distinguished from military, legal, or ecclesiastical affairs
- of or relating to the citizen as an individualcivil rights
- of or occurring within the state or between citizenscivil strife
- polite or courteous
- a less common word for civic
- of or in accordance with Roman law
- relating to the private rights of citizens
Word Origin and History for civil
late 14c., "relating to civil law or life; pertaining to the internal affairs of a state," from Old French civil "civil, relating to civil law" (13c.) and directly from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen," hence by extension "popular, affable, courteous;" alternative adjectival derivation of civis "townsman" (see city).
The sense of "polite" was in classical Latin, from the courteous manners of citizens, as opposed to those of soldiers. But English did not pick up this nuance of the word until late 16c. "Courteous is thus more commonly said of superiors, civil of inferiors, since it implies or suggests the possibility of incivility or rudeness" [OED]. Civil case (as opposed to criminal) is recorded from 1610s. Civil liberty is by 1640s. Civil service is from 1772, originally in reference to the East India Company.