What does civil discourse mean?

Definitions for civil discourse
civ·il dis·course

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


  1. civil discoursenoun

    An engagement in conversation intended to enhance understanding.


  1. Civil discourse

    Civil discourse is the engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding; Civil discourse exists as a function of freedom of speech. It is discourse that "supports, rather than undermines the societal good." An example of civil discourse was the "robust, honest, frank and constructive dialogue and deliberation that seeks to advance the public interest" by an assortment of national leaders in 2011 during a conversation at the U.S. Supreme Court. In contrast, uncivil discourse is "language characterized as containing direct insults, willful misattribution of motive without due reason, and open contempt." The definition of civil, in civil discourse, can have two distinct meanings, according to professor of public policy Archon Fung: The first is a superficial kind of civility—being nice, refraining from insults or ad-hominem kinds of argument. The second is a deeper, more important (and older, for what that's worth) sense of civility that is about behaving in ways that are necessary for cooperative projects such as schools and democratic societies to work well. This deeper sense of civility comes from the Latin civilitas—relating to citizens. Civility in this sense is behavior that is important for good citizenship. The definition of discourse is a verbal exchange of "thoughts and ideas, especially in a formal manner." Dictionary.com defines discourse as a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.Civil Discourse is Truthful Productive Audience-based About listening and talking Each Speaker's own responsibilityCivil Discourse is not Mere politeness An exercise in martyrdom About telling other people who they are Purely performative


  1. Civil discourse

    Civil discourse is engagement in discourse intended to enhance understanding. Kenneth J. Gergen describes civil discourse as "the language of dispassionate objectivity", and suggests that it requires respect of the other participants, such as the reader. It neither diminishes the other's moral worth, nor questions their good judgment; it avoids hostility, direct antagonism, or excessive persuasion; it requires modesty and an appreciation for the other participant's experiences. In Book III of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke contrasts between civil and philosophical discourse with the former being for the benefit of the reader, and the public good:

Editors Contribution

  1. civil discourse

    A more civilized and respectful way of having a disagreement.

    Our teacher kept reminding us last class that the socratic seminar was a civil discourse.

    Submitted by anonymous on April 14, 2020  

How to pronounce civil discourse?

How to say civil discourse in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of civil discourse in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of civil discourse in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of civil discourse in a Sentence

  1. Roy Young:

    She understood that her job as First Lady, or as an early diplomat, was to bring people together as people so they could have conversations and really come together and synthesize ideas, so I think of it as Dolley really created a great definition of early American civil discourse.

  2. Matt Brooks:

    Racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance have no place in our civil discourse. This is part of my responsibility as a Representative to the diverse constituency I represent. As public officials, we must all recommit ourselves to simultaneously advocating for our communities while fostering a more inclusive, tolerant society. you cannot condemn anti-Semitism and embrace the anti-Semite.

  3. Chief Justice John Roberts:

    I think it is appropriate for me to admonish both the Democratic House managers and the President's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body, one reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.

  4. Todd Rokita:

    There is no place in our civil discourse for this clear anti-Semitism and hate for another group of human beings, i urge my House colleagues to join me in condemning Louis Farrakhan’s hateful and anti-Semitic attacks, while also reaffirming our nation’s commitment to our Jewish neighbors and our greatest ally, the nation of Israel.

  5. Chris Carnabuci:

    I'm not shocked, but I'm still pissed, it's a very counterproductive thing to do, and it's not the kind of civil discourse -- the keyword being civil -- I wanted.

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"civil discourse." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/civil+discourse>.

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    causing disapproval or protest
    • A. obnoxious
    • B. whirring
    • C. sought
    • D. hatched

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