Meaning of CIVIL in English


civ ‧ il S3 W2 AC /ˈsɪv ə l/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin civilis , from civis ; ⇨ ↑ civic ]

1 . [only before noun] relating to the people who live in a country

civil war/disturbance/unrest etc (=fighting etc between different groups of people living in the same country) ⇨ ↑ civil liberty , ↑ civil rights

2 . [only before noun] relating to the ordinary people or things in a country that are not part of military, government, or religious organizations:

They were married in a civil ceremony in May.

3 . [only before noun] relating to the laws about the private affairs of citizens, such as laws about business or property, rather than laws about crime ⇨ civil law , criminal :

Many civil cases can be settled out of court.

4 . polite in a formal but not very friendly way ⇨ civility :

Try at least to be civil.

• • •


■ nouns

▪ civil war (=fighting between groups of people in the same country)

His family fled Spain during the Spanish civil war.

▪ civil rights (=the right to vote, be treated fairly etc that everyone should have)

Black people marched in defence of their civil rights.

▪ civil liberties/liberty (=the right to be free to do what you want within the law)

Detention without trial threatens our civil liberties.

▪ civil disobedience/unrest (=when people protest or behave violently)

Unemployment has provoked widespread civil unrest.

▪ civil disturbances/strife (=civil unrest)

Troops have been called in to deal with civil disturbances.

• • •


▪ polite behaving or speaking in a way that is correct for the social situation you are in, and showing that you are careful to consider other people’s needs and feelings:

He was too polite to ask how old she was.


‘Excuse me, sir,’ she said in a polite voice.

▪ well-mannered having good manners and knowing the correct way to behave in social situations:

She was beautifully dressed and very well-mannered.

▪ well-behaved polite and not causing any trouble – used about children or animals:

The children were very well-behaved.


Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the hotel.

▪ courteous /ˈkɜːtiəs $ ˈkɜːr-/ polite and respectful, and behaving rather formally:

The hotel staff were very courteous and helpful.


a courteous reply

▪ respectful polite and treating someone with respect:

He was very respectful towards all my relatives.


‘Thank you,’ he said with a respectful bow.

▪ civil polite in a formal way, especially when you do not feel very friendly towards someone:

She’d never liked her father-in-law, but she forced herself to be civil to him.


When you’ve stopped arguing, you might be able to have a civil conversation.

▪ deferential formal polite towards someone, especially because they are in a more important social position:

In those days women were expected to be deferential to men.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.