Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “civil”

See all translations

civil

adjective uk   /ˈsɪv.əl/ us  

civil adjective (ORDINARY)

C1 [before noun] not military or religious, or relating to the ordinary people of a country: Helicopters are mainly used for military rather than civil use. After ten years of military dictatorship, the country now has a civil government. We weren't married in church, but we had a civil ceremony in a registry office.
More examples

civil adjective (LAW)

[before noun] specialized law relating to private arguments between people or organizations rather than criminal matters: The matter would be better dealt with in the civil court rather than by an expensive criminal proceeding.

civil adjective (POLITE)

polite and formal: His manner was civil, though not particularly friendly.
(Definition of civil from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of civil?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “civil” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More