[ si-vil-yuh n ]
/ sɪˈvɪl yən /


a person who is not on active duty with a military, naval, police, or fire fighting organization.
Informal. anyone regarded by members of a profession, interest group, society, etc., as not belonging; nonprofessional; outsider: We need a producer to run the movie studio, not some civilian from the business world.
a person versed in or studying Roman or civil law.


of, pertaining to, formed by, or administered by civilians.

Origin of civilian

1350–1400; Middle English: student of civil law < Old French civilien (adj.); see civil, -ian

Related forms

an·ti·ci·vil·ian, adjectivenon·ci·vil·ian, nounpro·ci·vil·ian, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for civilian

British Dictionary definitions for civilian


/ (sɪˈvɪljən) /


  1. a person whose primary occupation is civil or nonmilitary
  2. (as modifier)civilian life

Word Origin for civilian

C14 (originally: a practitioner of civil law): from civile (from the Latin phrase jūs cīvīle civil law) + -ian
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