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

luck

the force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More