civil service


those branches of public service concerned with all governmental administrative functions outside the armed services.
the body of persons employed in these branches.
a system or method of appointing government employees on the basis of competitive examinations, rather than by political patronage.

Nearby words

  1. civil rightist,
  2. civil rights,
  3. civil rights act of 1964,
  4. civil rights movement,
  5. civil servant,
  6. civil society,
  7. civil tongue,
  8. civil war,
  9. civil war, english,
  10. civil year

Origin of civil service

First recorded in 1775–85 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for civil service

British Dictionary definitions for civil service

civil service


the service responsible for the public administration of the government of a country. It excludes the legislative, judicial, and military branches. Members of the civil service have no official political allegiance and are not generally affected by changes of governments
the members of the civil service collectively
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for civil service

civil service


c.1785, originally in reference to non-military staff of the East India Company. Civil servant is from 1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for civil service

civil service

The nonmilitary personnel who work for a government, applying its laws and regulations.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.