civilize

[siv-uh-lahyz]

verb (used with object), civ·i·lized, civ·i·liz·ing.

to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine: Rome civilized the barbarians.

Also especially British, civ·i·lise.

Origin of civilize

1595–1605; < French civiliser; see civil, -ize
Related formsciv·i·liz·a·ble, adjectiveciv·i·liz·a·to·ry [siv-uh-lahy-zuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌsɪv əˈlaɪ zəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectiveciv·i·liz·er, nounde·civ·i·lize, verb (used with object), de·civ·i·lized, de·civ·i·liz·ing.non·civ·i·liz·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·civ·i·lize, verb, o·ver·civ·i·lized, o·ver·civ·i·liz·ing.un·civ·i·liz·a·ble, adjectiveun·civ·i·lize, verb (used with object), un·civ·i·lized, un·civ·i·liz·ing.

Synonyms for civilize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for civilize

civilize

civilise

verb (tr)

to bring out of savagery or barbarism into a state characteristic of civilization
to refine, educate, or enlighten
Derived Formscivilizable or civilisable, adjectivecivilizer 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

Word Origin and History for civilize
v.

c.1600, "to bring out of barbarism," from French civiliser, verb from Old French civil (adj.), from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Meaning "become civilized" is from 1868. Related: Civilized; civilizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper