[ siv-uh-lahyz ]
See synonyms for: civilizecivilizedcivilizing on

verb (used with object),civ·i·lized, civ·i·liz·ing.
  1. to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine: Rome civilized the barbarians.

Origin of civilize

1595–1605; <French civiliser;see civil, -ize
  • Also especially British, civ·i·lise .

Other words for civilize

Other words from civilize

  • civ·i·liz·a·ble, adjective
  • civ·i·liz·a·to·ry [siv-uh-lahy-zuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /ˌsɪv əˈlaɪ zəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
  • civ·i·liz·er, noun
  • de·civ·i·lize, verb (used with object), de·civ·i·lized, de·civ·i·liz·ing.
  • non·civ·i·liz·a·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·civ·i·lize, verb, o·ver·civ·i·lized, o·ver·civ·i·liz·ing.
  • un·civ·i·liz·a·ble, adjective
  • un·civ·i·lize, verb (used with object), un·civ·i·lized, un·civ·i·liz·ing.

Words Nearby civilize Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use civilize in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for civilize



/ (ˈsɪvɪˌlaɪz) /

  1. to bring out of savagery or barbarism into a state characteristic of civilization

  2. to refine, educate, or enlighten

Derived forms of civilize

  • civilizable or civilisable, adjective
  • civilizer or civiliser, noun

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