Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “civilize”


verb [T] (UK usually civilise)     /ˈsɪv.ɪ.laɪz/
to educate a society so that its culture becomes more developed: The Romans set out to civilize the Ancient Britons.Teaching in general to improve someone's behaviour: I like to think I had a civilizing effect on my younger brothers.Teaching in general
(Definition of civilize verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of civilize

Definitions of “civilize” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a person or group who receives money, advantages, etc. as a result of something else

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More