What does civil mean?

Definitions for civil
ˈsɪv əlciv·il

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word civil.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. civiladjective

    applying to ordinary citizens as contrasted with the military

    "civil authorities"

  2. civil, politeadjective

    not rude; marked by satisfactory (or especially minimal) adherence to social usages and sufficient but not noteworthy consideration for others

    "even if he didn't like them he should have been civil"- W.S. Maugham

  3. civiladjective

    of or occurring within the state or between or among citizens of the state

    "civil affairs"; "civil strife"; "civil disobedience"; "civil branches of government"

  4. civil, civicadjective

    of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals

    "civil rights"; "civil liberty"; "civic duties"; "civic pride"

  5. civiladjective

    (of divisions of time) legally recognized in ordinary affairs of life

    "the civil calendar"; "a civil day begins at mean midnight"

  6. civiladjective

    of or in a condition of social order

    "civil peoples"


  1. civiladjective

    Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion.

    She went into civil service because she wanted to help the people.

  2. civiladjective

    Behaving in a reasonable or polite manner.

    It was very civil of him to stop the argument.

  3. Etymology: From civilis, from civis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CIVILadjective

    Etymology: civilis, Latin.

    God gave them laws of civil regimen, and would not permit their commonweal to be governed by any other laws than his own. Richard Hooker, b. iii. s. 11.

    Part such as appertain
    To civil justice; part, religious rites
    Of sacrifice. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xii. l. 231.

    But there is another unity, which would be most advantageous to our country; and that is your endeavour after a civil, a political union in the whole nation. Thomas Sprat, Sermon.

    Break not your promise, unless it be unlawful or impossible; either out of your natural, or out of your civil power. Taylor.

    For rudest minds with harmony were caught,
    And civil life was by the muses taught. Wentworth Dillon.

    From a civil war, God of his mercy defend us, as that which is most desperate of all others. Francis Bacon, to Villers.

    England was very rude and barbarous; for it is but even the other day since England grew civil. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    I heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back,
    Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
    That the rude sea grew civil at her song. William Shakespeare.

    He was civil and well natured, never refusing to teach another. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    And fall these sayings from that gentle tongue,
    Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung. Matthew Prior.

    Thus night oft see me in thy pale career,
    ’Till civil suited morn appear. John Milton, Poems.

    No woman had it, but a civil doctor. William Shakespeare, Merch. of Ven.


  1. civil

    Civil refers to ordinary citizens and their concerns, often in relation to government or public affairs. It can also refer to matters relating to private rights and remedies sought by legal action. Additionally, it can mean polite and courteous behavior.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Civiladjective

    pertaining to a city or state, or to a citizen in his relations to his fellow citizens or to the state; within the city or state

  2. Civiladjective

    subject to government; reduced to order; civilized; not barbarous; -- said of the community

  3. Civiladjective

    performing the duties of a citizen; obedient to government; -- said of an individual

  4. Civiladjective

    having the manners of one dwelling in a city, as opposed to those of savages or rustics; polite; courteous; complaisant; affable

  5. Civiladjective

    pertaining to civic life and affairs, in distinction from military, ecclesiastical, or official state

  6. Civiladjective

    relating to rights and remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedings

  7. Etymology: [L. civilis, fr. civis citizen: cf. F. civil. See City.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Civil

    siv′il, adj. pertaining to the community: having the refinement of city-bred people: polite: commercial, not military: lay, secular, or temporal, not ecclesiastical: pertaining to the individual citizen: (law) relating to private relations amongst citizens, and such suits as arise out of these, as opposed to criminal: (theol.) naturally good, as opposed to good through regeneration.—ns. Civil′ian, a professor or student of civil law (not canon law): one engaged in civil as distinguished from military and other pursuits; Civ′ilist, one versed in civil law; Civil′ity, good-breeding: politeness.—adv. Civ′illy.—adj. Civ′il-suit′ed (Milton), sombrely clad.—n. Civ′ism, good citizenship, state of being well-affected to the government.—Civil death, the loss of all civil and legal but not natural privileges, as by outlawry: Civil engineer, one who plans rail-ways, docks, &c., as opposed to a military engineer, or to a mechanical engineer, who makes machines, &c.; Civil law, as opposed to criminal law: the law laid down by a state regarding the rights of the inhabitants; Civil list, now the expenses of the sovereign's household only; Civil list pensions, those granted by royal favour; Civil service, the paid service of the state, in so far as it is not military or naval; Civil war, a war between citizens of the same state. [L. civīliscivis.]

Editors Contribution

  1. civil

    Relating to citizens.

    The civil rights were create easily and efficiently in partnership with local unity government members.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 31, 2020  

  2. civilverb

    The certified cost of insurance intravenously having little worth or value of disorder or conflict between citizens of the same country or state. 1.) Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters.

    I am totally civil towards my enemies at war.

    Etymology: Sincere

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on April 11, 2024  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CIVIL

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Civil is ranked #25486 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Civil surname appeared 970 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Civil.

    80.1% or 777 total occurrences were Black.
    11% or 107 total occurrences were White.
    6.3% or 62 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.3% or 13 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'civil' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1152

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'civil' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2255

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'civil' in Adjectives Frequency: #144

How to pronounce civil?

How to say civil in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of civil in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of civil in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of civil in a Sentence

  1. Charlie Ha:

    The face of the typical gun owner being White, that can send a message to say, ‘oh, gun ownership is a civil right is only for White people,’ which is just factually incorrect.

  2. David Chavern:

    Fake news will become very much a local experience, and very much a destructive one, if we get disappointing journalism, then we lose civil society.

  3. Tomiko Brown-Nagin:

    It's so important to have this breakthrough appointment of an African American woman who's so well qualified to the post because African American appointment will affirm the values of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, equal workplace opportunity regardless of race and sex and background -- that's something to be very happy about.

  4. Julie Fisher:

    It was a very different world, and there is room for us to do an awful lot with a new executive order. That is an effort that is underway, our goal remains that we are at, we're focused on promoting accountability for those individuals and entities who are responsible for, or are complicit in the regime's of violent repression of civil society and for those human rights abuses. So we will continue to bring new authorities and new tools of pressure to bear.

  5. Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil:

    It is ... a mixed civil-police-military mission that should be deployed where necessary.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for civil

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"civil." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/civil>.

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    the domain ruled by an emperor or empress; the region over which imperial dominion is exercised
    A accident
    B empire
    C assortment
    D deterioration

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