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of, relating to, or consisting of citizens:
civil life; civil society.
of the commonwealth or state:
civil affairs.
of citizens in their ordinary capacity, or of the ordinary life and affairs of citizens, as distinguished from military and ecclesiastical life and affairs.
of the citizen as an individual:
civil liberty.
befitting a citizen:
a civil duty.
of, or in a condition of, social order or organized government; :
civil peoples.
adhering to the norms of polite social intercourse; not deficient in common courtesy:
After their disagreement, their relations were civil though not cordial.
marked by benevolence:
He was a very civil sort, and we liked him immediately.
(of divisions of time) legally recognized in the ordinary affairs of life:
the civil year.
of or relating to .
Contemporary Examples

And No. 3: Everett Dirksen passed the civil Rights Act, pal.
Republicans Are Racists? No, It’s Just All a Big Coincidence Michael Tomasky April 24, 2014

The other kind goes to civil servants and tends to be more modest.
Federal Employees Rake in Millions in Added Pay and Bonuses Daniel Stone June 5, 2012

Christie manages to win the nomination and the GOP civil war officially begins.
Who Does the GOP Really Have To Run Against Hillary in 2016? Myra Adams January 13, 2014

The Republican George Romney is being celebrated for standing up to his party on civil rights, for example.
Mitt Romney’s No More Of a Mystery Than Barack Obama Lee Siegel February 8, 2012

This equality is quite different from the type he sought in terms of civil rights.
MLK Statue Shows America’s Bad Side Stanley Crouch August 29, 2011

Historical Examples

More than you killed and wounded, remember, in the whole civil War.
Sure Pop and the Safety Scouts Roy Rutherford Bailey

Yet he is not possessed of the civil rights which citizenship should carry with it.
United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches Various

It is but civil of them to come and leave a card, at all events.
Missy Miriam Coles Harris

In the following century came the three sieges of the civil War.
Yorkshire Painted And Described Gordon Home

There is an element in this country that already has no use for the soldier of the civil War.
The Battle of Atlanta Grenville M. Dodge

of the ordinary life of citizens as distinguished from military, legal, or ecclesiastical affairs
of or relating to the citizen as an individual: civil rights
of or occurring within the state or between citizens: civil strife
polite or courteous
a less common word for civic
of or in accordance with Roman law
relating to the private rights of citizens

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).

The 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.


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