- 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
Examples from the Web for civilian
The healthier appearance and civilian clothing are very peculiar.ISIS’s Futile Quest to Go Legit
January 5, 2015
We also have a language filled with distaste for the civilian “others.”
Police have unions, for one, and those unions influence the elections of their civilian leadership.
A civilian corollary was proven when ISIS waterboarded journalist James Foley before beheading him.The Luxury Homes That Torture and Your Tax Dollars Built
December 12, 2014
A civilian commission overruled Beck and rebuked his conclusion.Worse Than Eric Garner: Cops Who Got Away With Killing Autistic Men and Little Girls
December 4, 2014
It appears Balfour was the civilian of the British while here in power.A Sketch of the Life of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion
William Dobein James
The whole air of him, though he was in civilian's clothes, proclaimed the policeman.Within the Law
A person distinguishable from a civilian by his uniform and from a soldier by his gait.The Devil's Dictionary
One might have thought him a non-commissioned officer in civilian attire.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
He was clad in a civilian costume, which pronouncedly smacked of the prairie.The Law-Breakers
- a person whose primary occupation is civil or nonmilitary
- (as modifier)civilian life
Word Origin and History for civilian
late 14c., "judge or authority on civil law," from Old French civilien "of the civil law," created from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Sense of "non-military person" is attested by 1819 (earlier in this sense was civilian, attested from c.1600 as "non-soldier"). The adjective is from 1640s.