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[si-vil-yuh n] /sɪˈvɪl yən/

a person who is not on active duty with a military, naval, police, or fire fighting organization.
Informal. anyone regarded by members of a profession, interest group, society, etc., as not belonging; nonprofessional; outsider:
We need a producer to run the movie studio, not some civilian from the business world.
a person versed in or studying Roman or civil law.
of, pertaining to, formed by, or administered by civilians.


late 14c., “judge or authority on civil law,” from Old French civilien “of the civil law,” created from Latin civilis “relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous” (see civil). Sense of “non-military person” is attested by 1819 (earlier in this sense was civilian, attested from c.1600 as “non-soldier”). The adjective is from 1640s.


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