American English

Definition of civil adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[only before noun] connected with the people who live in a country civil unrest (= that is caused by groups of people within a country) see also civil war
  2. 2[only before noun] connected with the state rather than with religion or with the armed forces a civil marriage ceremony
  3. 3[only before noun] involving personal legal matters and not criminal law a civil court compare criminal, civil law
  4. 4polite in a formal way but possibly not friendly The less time I have to spend being civil to him the better! opposite uncivil
adverb She greeted him civilly but with no sign of affection.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: civil