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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a civil action (=involving business or property, rather than a crime)
▪ The victim can seek damages in a civil action.
a civil case (=not a criminal case)
▪ He is involved with civil cases, not criminal ones.
a civil ceremony (=a wedding ceremony that is not a religious one)
▪ They married in a registrar's office, in a civil ceremony.
a civil court (=for cases about disagreements)
▪ Eviction proceedings take place in a civil court.
a civil disturbance (=fighting between different groups of people in a country)
▪ Two men had already been killed in civil disturbances.
a civil rights lawyer
▪ He has worked as a civil rights lawyer for over twenty years.
a civil society (=a society based on laws that everyone accepts)
▪ The protection of human rights is essential for a civil society.
a civil trial (=for cases dealing with the private affairs of citizens, rather than cases involving a crime)
▪ In civil trials, the jury's decision need not be unanimous.
a civil war (=between opposing groups within a country)
▪ the English Civil War
a civil weddingAmerican English (= a wedding that is not performed by a religious leader)
▪ Only church or civil weddings have full legal status.
Civil Contingencies Committee, the
civil defence
civil disobedience
civil engineer (=one who designs and builds roads, bridges etc)
▪ He trained as a civil engineer .
civil engineering
civil law (=laws concerning disagreements between people, rather than crimes)
▪ The punishment for breaking civil law is usually a fine.
civil law
civil liability (=responsiblity for injury or damage covered by civil law)
▪ A company operating a ship which spills oil into the sea will face civil liability.
civil liberty
Civil List
civil partner
civil partnership
civil proceedings (=not relating to a criminal charge)
▪ The couple say they will take civil proceedings against the medics for professional misconduct.
civil rights demonstration/movement etc
▪ a civil rights leader
civil rights (=the rights that every person in a society should have)
▪ As a young man, he was deeply involved in the struggle for civil rights.
▪ the civil rights movement
civil rights
▪ a civil rights leader
civil servant
civil service
civil suit
▪ a civil suit
civil unrest (=between groups of people in a country, or between the people and the government)
▪ Our country is being ripped apart by civil unrest.
civil war
▪ the Spanish Civil War
ethnic/religious/civil etc strife
▪ a time of political strife
protest/civil rights/peace etc march
▪ I went on a lot of peace marches when I was a student.
▪ But the solicitor for the three cleared men says he doubts a civil action would have succeeded.
▪ The civil action, filed by the victims' families, is scheduled to go to trial April 2.
▪ A civil action for trespass to the person followed.
▪ Still, both groups do get involved in civil actions against individuals.
▪ In a civil action for damages at Melbourne magistrates' court, Dale denied punching De Pace.
▪ These civil actions failed to stop the irrepressible hotelier from operating his illegal ferry system.
▪ Such civil action settlements, whilst absolutely large are again relatively insignificant.
▪ A second typical case would be a civil action suit which will probably move slowly and take two to three years.
▪ The proposed merger called into question Britain's civil aviation policy of the previous twenty years.
▪ In addition to civil aviation crashes, the independent board looks into some highway, railroad, marine and pipeline accidents.
▪ The Assembly passed a law on civil aviation and amended existing legislation on export-import taxes.
▪ At the same time Beaverbrook told the House of Lords of Britain's willingness to attend an international conference on civil aviation.
▪ Roosevelt, like Churchill, saw the significance of postwar civil aviation, and believed in free and open competition.
▪ This radical and sweeping blueprint for Britain's peacetime civil aviation industry was considered by the War Cabinet on 25 February 1943.
▪ The comparable figures for research connected with defence, space and civil aviation were £1343 million, £52 million and £69 million.
▪ But shortly after the trial the twin's parents announced that they were considering pursuing a civil case for damages.
▪ Such cases could be met by adopting for civil cases a procedure similar to the Attorney-General's reference in criminal proceedings.
▪ In the civil case, the plaintiffs sought to shield him from such harsh treatment by limiting the scope of his testimony.
▪ Figure 1.3 represents the appeal structure for civil cases, Figure 1.4 the appeal structure in criminal cases.
▪ Nor is there any double jeopardy bar to a civil case following a criminal acquittal.
▪ It is available in criminal as well as civil cases.
▪ The hell can you do in a civil case?
▪ Currently eviction must follow lengthy proceedings in the civil courts.
▪ For the moment, these religious courts work in tandem with Soviet-style civil courts.
▪ Figure 1.1 represents the civil court structure and Figure 1.2 represents the criminal court structure.
▪ The Woldemariams have a wrongful death case against Broadus and Lee pending in civil court.
▪ Yet the structure of the civil court and the way they work has not kept pace with these changes.
▪ Martial law can not operate where civil courts are open. 20.
▪ He said the country's criminal and civil courts were creaking at the seams in spite of efforts to shore them up.
▪ Simpson was acquitted in 1995 and is now being sued in civil court by the victims' families.
▪ The country has made few preparations for civil defence.
▪ These difficulties were greatly exacerbated by poor civil defence planning.
▪ Non-cooperation and civil disobedience, as Gandhi understands them, can not be construed as a coercive threat in this sense.
▪ We would not endorse civil disobedience.
▪ Nothing in their training or previous experience had accustomed them to this kind of civil disobedience.
▪ In Pittsburgh, there were a few sit-ins, invasions of churches, minor civil disobedience.
▪ This was true civil disobedience rather than mere non-co-operation.
▪ The week I spent in the ashram this energy and passion were driving Gandhi toward another campaign of civil disobedience.
▪ The Battle of Seattle was certainly a spectacular display of civil disobedience-but did it represent anything more than that?
▪ Do we intend to commit civil disobedience?
▪ By 1968, 15,000 men had been trained for handling civil disorder.
▪ It hopes for a significant export trade in this latest answer to civil disorder.
▪ Hunger, disease and civil disorder would destroy what was left of civilization.
▪ Most movement is voluntary; some is involuntary and in response to conflict, civil disorder, and natural disaster.
▪ Yu was thus the very symbol of civil disorder.
▪ The Public Order Act represented the culmination of a long debate within the government about how increased civil disorder should be controlled.
▪ He had chosen November 5 as a traditional day of civil disturbance.
▪ On discovering the fretting, he informed the chief civil engineer who imposed a strict speed limit on the bridge.
▪ The Internal Revenue Service acknowledges that McGill, a retired civil engineer, never owed the government.
▪ Workshops and initiatives for the newly arrived civil engineers, tile-makers and labourers did not materialise.
▪ Trafalgar was chiefly a property group, with hotel and travel interests and civil engineers such as Trollope and Colls.
▪ Brad Joss, civil engineer, killed in a vehicle accident in Sonoma County on Jan. 4, 1994.
▪ He also had a working association with the civil engineer Robert Sabine, one of the pioneers of transatlantic telegraphy.
▪ The some one was a respected civil engineer, Charles B.. Stuart, who had worked surveying both lines.
▪ This week we are starting the service with a selection of contracts in the energy and civil engineering sectors.
▪ But his principal contribution was in the field of civil engineering, as a builder of road and railway bridges.
▪ Robots for civil engineering will be worth £23 million by the same year, the association calculates.
▪ At the age of twenty-four he began an apprenticeship with Stothert &038; Company of Bath, civil engineering contractors.
▪ This it estimated would cost between £120 million and £225 million because it would need major civil engineering works.
▪ He completed two years of a civil engineering course at Nottingham University before moving to Lyon.
▪ Almost everywhere these edifices of civil engineering, the basis of life in urban Britain, have been taken for granted.
▪ Or for a civil engineering student not to appreciate the environmental implications of large-scale works such as the channel tunnel.
▪ Yet solicitors had considerable anxieties about aspects of the preparations for this drastic re-engineering of the civil justice system.
▪ Six months is not a long time in which to evaluate the most radical overhaul of the civil justice system since 1875.
▪ The civil law position is less problematical.
▪ At age sixteen, he had received his doctorate in canon and civil law.
▪ What civil laws might have been tempered with mercy as a result?
▪ Many of these provisions would be quite unacceptable to a civil law country.
▪ Moreover, once the elements of theft are satisfied, it does not matter that the victim has no civil law remedy.
▪ In post-classical law the traditional procedural scheme of the civil law evaporated, and all claims were heard under the cognitio procedure.
▪ Many civil law systems find room for oral evidence at the eventual hearing.
▪ At civil law reasonable force may be used to evict a trespasser.
▪ From the early 1960s the party had seen the issue of civil liberties as a key area of agitation.
▪ The bill has bogged down in bitter disputes over the balance between law enforcement and civil liberties.
▪ Many abolitionists' heads had been bloodied and civil liberties abused without benefit of federal protection.
▪ Certainly Clinton and Gore could have done more to advance civil liberties.
▪ The civil liberties group is seeking a preliminary injunction barring Republican Gov.
▪ The willingness to bend the rules to authorize a major invasion of civil liberties contrasts sharply with the Spycatcher case.
▪ The other force wants privacy and civil liberties.
▪ This is not civil liberty but plain silliness.
▪ Under Conservative rule civil liberty became seriously eroded.
▪ The Westerners, on the other hand, envisaged progress towards civil liberty and economic justice along Western lines.
▪ If this had been ordinary civil litigation I would have agreed.
▪ The constitutional question before the court is whether a sitting president may be forced to face civil litigation while in office.
▪ After that, Feingold joined a Madison law firm and practiced civil litigation, including First Amendment law.
▪ Allen goes on to explain that his own work is in civil litigation.
▪ Clearly civil litigation is often very expensive.
▪ It is also manna to lawyers looking for juicy briefs in civil litigation.
▪ The immunity of diplomats from civil proceedings was also being more and more clearly asserted.
▪ It was suggested that under the circumstances civil proceedings might have been preferable to a court martial.
▪ The Act contains similar requirements to those in civil proceedings.
▪ Infringements can be dealt with by an out-of-court settlement or if necessary by civil proceedings.
▪ There is no legal requirement for a child's evidence to be corroborated in civil proceedings.
▪ Either criminal or civil proceedings may be brought by the Attorney General.
▪ Under civil proceedings, the appropriate care and cure of the young offender is, in theory at least, the only consideration.
▪ However, I wish to address one potentially significant impact of the Act in relation to secure accommodation applications in civil proceedings.
▪ Some senior civil servants remain sceptical.
▪ Ministers were not civil servants, but rarely developed a distinct role.
▪ His civil servant thought that Ramsey should be invited.
▪ Many ministers and senior civil servants are convinced Britain will be dragged into the civil war in 1993.
▪ He will meet civil servants from Britain on 15 April.
▪ One civil servant has retired on ill health grounds and two downgraded.
▪ The internal fax was addressed to a dozen civil servants within the Department of Social Security.
▪ However, civil servants may appear in magistrates' courts as prosecutors without violating this restrictive practice.
▪ The same principle applies to the civil service, where rank is determined in part by the number of employees one supervises.
▪ For those in this upper-middle range of ability employment in the civil service may well offer better rewards.
▪ These three, but particularly the Compendium, became the basis of all civil service examinations.
▪ But the episode nevertheless did focus attention on the corruption that is rife within the civil service.
▪ The terms of employment, which are still linked to the civil service, are to be changed.
▪ However, most national politicians and local councillors share the civil service preference for the functional and centralized system based on Whitehall.
▪ As for the civil service, it had to be cut down to the lowest level necessary.
▪ The State exercises coercion, but civil society performs the function of maintaining hegemony, or domination by consent.
▪ They will further the integration of their armed forces with civil society as an important expression of democracy. 21.
▪ We must look at what people would be like outside of, and prior to, civil society.
▪ All efforts to develop a civil society and increase contacts might now be terminated.
▪ I propose a New Deal between government and civil society actors in global governance.
▪ In the shorthand of the modern world, business is seen as dynamic, civil society as conservative.
▪ Democratic civil society is relatively strong and well-organised.
▪ Success will require partnership with other states, international agencies, civil society and with the pharmaceutical industry.
▪ Ethically, it is impossible to redistribute income intentionally in a developing country to see if civil strife erupts.
▪ After a week of civil strife, Jerusalem itself was captured by the rebels.
▪ For a considerable part of the intervening period there was recurrent civil strife between magnate and dynastic factions.
▪ They blamed the republic's nationalistic coalition government for the slide into civil strife.
▪ But there were present all the ingredients of stasis, civil strife.
▪ His final model of civil strife is depicted in Figure 5.1.
▪ Many others were involved in civil suits or attended court as spectators.
▪ Only 42 civil suits resulted, with no verdicts in favor of the plaintiff.
▪ Canseco is now 6-0 in civil suits.
▪ The guy could still walk, and we had filed a civil suit, for assault and battery.
▪ In 1995, their civil suits were among the more than 40, 000 filed in federal courts by prison inmates.
▪ The civil suit, which had sought $ 10 million in damages, ended in an undisclosed settlement on Tuesday, however.
▪ Forsyth sued; but when the civil suit was finally argued, he lost.
▪ Higgins' parents are pursuing a civil suit against six Cowboys officers.
▪ In the civil trial, Simpson did both and came off looking very much like a man who had much to hide.
▪ Some victims of police abuse received compensation in local civil trials.
▪ The civil trial provided a more subdued sequel, since Fujisaki refused to allow television cameras into his courtroom.
▪ And civil trials and criminal trials are very different in different ways.
▪ Unlike during the criminal trial, the civil trial was based on three separate lawsuits.
▪ Fuhrman did not testify in the civil trial.
▪ The loss of revenue from areas of the country affected by civil unrest had also contributed to the deficit.
▪ If there was civil unrest, they said, it would be the responsibility of the attorney-general, Janet Reno.
▪ Urban violence and civil unrest were mushrooming like small bombs threatening to blow up the machine from within.
▪ The civil unrest was not his department.
▪ Religious dissent is, indeed, one source of civil unrest.
▪ There was increased military representation, reflecting the leadership's concern that economic reforms might lead to civil unrest.
▪ So long as we're mainly dependent upon oil, the possibility of high prices and ensuing civil unrest will always exist.
▪ George Orwell wrote of the civil war within a civil war, for he was present when this conflict erupted in Barcelona.
▪ This is civil war, and civil wars are ipso facto destructive for all involved.
▪ The civil war that followed claimed far more civilians than combatants; by some estimates the death toll exceeds 200,000.
▪ The crisis has unsettled financial markets and brought dire predictions of revolution or civil war from some politicians.
▪ This was followed by intervention, by an ... intensification of the class struggle, which assumed the form of civil war.
▪ We have to judge whether recognition of two republics now would increase the very real danger of civil war in other republics.
▪ A rising inflationary trend and a persistent fiscal deficit during 1990 were exacerbated by the continuing civil war and rising petrol prices.
▪ The communities were not directly affected by civil war or violence.
keep a civil tongue in your head
the Civil List
the civil service
civil aviation
▪ I expect a civil answer when I ask you a question.
▪ I know you don't like Phil, but try to be civil.
▪ I wish you'd be a little more civil towards our guests.
▪ Many civil cases can be settled out of court.
▪ Since an exchange's rules are a civil contract, the prosecution only needs to meet the civil law standard of proof.
▪ The internal organization of state policy-making has tended to reflect the lines of cleavage within dominant economic groups of civil society.
▪ This concept is based on the fact that for both civil and military imports there is only one source of financing exports.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Civil \Civ"il\, a. [L. civilis, fr. civis citizen: cf. F. civil. See City.]

  1. Pertaining to a city or state, or to a citizen in his relations to his fellow citizens or to the state; within the city or state.

  2. Subject to government; reduced to order; civilized; not barbarous; -- said of the community.

    England was very rude and barbarous; for it is but even the other day since England grew civil.

  3. Performing the duties of a citizen; obedient to government; -- said of an individual.

    Civil men come nearer the saints of God than others; they come within a step or two of heaven.

  4. Having the manners of one dwelling in a city, as opposed to those of savages or rustics; polite; courteous; complaisant; affable.

    Note: ``A civil man now is one observant of slight external courtesies in the mutual intercourse between man and man; a civil man once was one who fulfilled all the duties and obligations flowing from his position as a 'civis' and his relations to the other members of that 'civitas.'''

  5. Pertaining to civic life and affairs, in distinction from military, ecclesiastical, or official state.

  6. Relating to rights and remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedings.

    Civil action, an action to enforce the rights or redress the wrongs of an individual, not involving a criminal proceeding.

    Civil architecture, the architecture which is employed in constructing buildings for the purposes of civil life, in distinction from military and naval architecture, as private houses, palaces, churches, etc.

    Civil death. (Law.) See under Death.

    Civil engineering. See under Engineering.

    Civil law. See under Law.

    Civil list. See under List.

    Civil remedy (Law), that given to a person injured, by action, as opposed to a criminal prosecution.

    Civil service, all service rendered to and paid for by the state or nation other than that pertaining to naval or military affairs.

    Civil service reform, the substitution of business principles and methods for the spoils system in the conduct of the civil service, esp. in the matter of appointments to office.

    Civil state, the whole body of the laity or citizens not included under the military, maritime, and ecclesiastical states.

    Civil suit. Same as Civil action.

    Civil war. See under War.

    Civil year. See under Year.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "relating to civil law or life; pertaining to the internal affairs of a state," from Old French civil "civil, relating to civil law" (13c.) and directly from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen," hence by extension "popular, affable, courteous;" alternative adjectival derivation of civis "townsman" (see city).\n

\nThe sense of "polite" was in classical Latin, from the courteous manners of citizens, as opposed to those of soldiers. But English did not pick up this nuance of the word until late 16c. "Courteous is thus more commonly said of superiors, civil of inferiors, since it implies or suggests the possibility of incivility or rudeness" [OED]. Civil case (as opposed to criminal) is recorded from 1610s. Civil liberty is by 1640s. Civil service is from 1772, originally in reference to the East India Company.


a. 1 (context uncomparable English) Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion. 2 (context comparable English) Behaving in a reasonable or polite manner.

  1. adj. applying to ordinary citizens; "civil law"; "civil authorities"

  2. not rude; marked by satisfactory (or especially minimal) adherence to social usages and sufficient but not noteworthy consideration for others; "even if he didn't like them he should have been civil"- W.S. Maugham [syn: polite] [ant: uncivil]

  3. of or occurring within the state or between or among citizens of the state; "civil affairs"; "civil strife"; "civil disobediece"; "civil branches of government"

  4. of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals; "civil rights"; "civil liberty"; "civic duties"; "civic pride" [syn: civic]

  5. (of divisions of time) legally recognized in ordinary affairs of life; "the civil calendar"; "a civil day begins at mean midnight" [ant: sidereal]

  6. of or in a condition of social order; "civil peoples"


Civil may refer to:

  • Civic virtue, or civility
  • Civil action, or lawsuit
  • Civil affairs
  • Civil and political rights
  • Civil disobedience
  • Civil engineering
  • Civilian, someone not a member of armed forces
  • Civil law (disambiguation), multiple meanings
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil religion
  • Civil service
  • Civil society
  • Civil war

Usage examples of "civil".

Carthage, who was invested with civil and military power, provoked the sectaries, and even the Catholics of the Roman province, to abjure the religion as well as the authority of their tyrants.

The laws which excuse, on any occasions, the ignorance of their subjects, confess their own imperfections: the civil jurisprudence, as it was abridged by Justinian, still continued a mysterious science, and a profitable trade, and the innate perplexity of the study was involved in tenfold darkness by the private industry of the practitioners.

In the pride of victory, he forfeited what yet remained of his civil virtues, without acquiring the fame of military prowess.

After their civil and domestic wars, the subjects of the Abbassides, awakening from this mental lethargy, found leisure and felt curiosity for the acquisition of profane science.

The settlement of the civil list left ministers at liberty to move the immediate adjournment of the house.

It was the difference between the manners of Tewksbury and Tuscumbia, between being brought up amid the cruelties of the almshouse and the affectionate warmth of an upper-middle-class Southern home, between an Irish cultural heritage of black pessimism and hot hatred of patronizing rulers and the genial, self-confident outlook of a class that despite the Civil War was still master.

He remembered the instructor at the air club speak about a Civil War airman who had short legs and had small blocks of wood attached to the pedals of his machine in order to be able to reach them.

Chief of Staff of the school, an old air wolf who had been an airman as far back as the Civil War, was fond of saying.

Nevertheless, I walked about from door to door like a dejected beggar, till I got the almous deed of a civil reception--and who would have thought it?

Having by the proclamation extended amnesty on the simple condition of an oath of loyalty to the Union and the Constitution, and obedience to the Decree of Emancipation, the President had established a definite and easily ascertainable constituency of white men in the South to whom the work of reconstructing civil government in the several States might be intrusted.

These theorists or political speculators have imagined a state of nature antecedently to civil society, in which men lived without government, law, or manners, out of which they finally came by entering into a voluntary agreement with some one of their number to be king and to govern them, or with one another to submit to the rule of the majority.

He adopts the theory of a state of nature in which men lived, antecedently to their forming themselves into civil society, without government or law.

Fearing civil war, the Guardians of the Realm of Scotland had reluctantly approached Edward of England to arbitrate among the various rivals.

But similar cases arising after the Civil War were disposed of by direct recourse to the commerce clause.

In making appropriations to pay claims arising out of the Civil War, the Court held that it was lawful to provide that certain persons, i.