Civil has several meanings. The simplest is cultured and polite, as in someone who is civilized. Civil can also describe things related to a community of people and their government, or a civilization.

If you work for the post office, you're a civil servant. The Civil Rights movement focused on the notion that all American citizens were entitled to the same basic personal rights and freedoms. Civil wars are named in reference to the fact that conflict occurs between citizens of the same country, and civil law is similarly limited to non-criminal issues that community members have with each other. The Latin root, civilis, means both "relating to a citizen" and "courteous."

Definitions of civil
  1. adjective
    of or occurring within the state or between or among citizens of the state
    civil affairs”
    civil strife”
    civil disobedience”
    civil branches of government”
  2. adjective
    of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals
    civil rights”
    civil liberty”
    synonyms: civic
  3. adjective
    applying to ordinary citizens as contrasted with the military
    civil authorities”
    associated with civil life or performed by persons who are not active members of the military
  4. adjective
    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”
    synonyms: polite
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    rude, uncivil
    lacking civility or good manners
  5. adjective
    of or in a condition of social order
    civil peoples”
    civilised, civilized
    having a high state of culture and development both social and technological
  6. adjective
    (of divisions of time) legally recognized in ordinary affairs of life
    “the civil calendar”
    “a civil day begins at mean midnight”
    see moresee less
    (of divisions of time) determined by daily motion of the stars
Commonly confused words

Can Captain America Really Wage a "Civil" War?

Captain America: Civil War is a hit film at the early summer box office, having recently surpassed 1 billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. The film raises a lot of questions. A basic question can be answered well before that having to do with the language of the title: How can a War be Civil?

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