[ siv-uh-lahyz ]
/ ˈsɪv əˌlaɪz /

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.

Nearby words

  1. civilian review board,
  2. civilianize,
  3. civilisation,
  4. civility,
  5. civilization,
  6. civilized,
  7. civilly,
  8. civils,
  9. civism,
  10. civitan

Also especially British, civ·i·lise.

Origin of civilize

1595–1605; < French civiliser; see civil, -ize

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

Examples from the Web for decivilize

  • Well, if we don't get a planetary monarchy to keep order, this planet will decivilize like anything in the Old Federation.

    Space Viking|Henry Beam Piper
  • Then they started to decivilize, down to the pre-mechanical level—wind and water power and animal power.

    Space Viking|Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for decivilize



/ (ˈsɪvɪˌlaɪz) /

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 decivilize



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