Definition of civil war noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


    civil war

    BrE BrE//ˌsɪvl ˈwɔː(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌsɪvl ˈwɔːr//
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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] a war between groups of people in the same country the Spanish Civil War 30 years of bitter civil war CollocationsWar and peaceStarting a war declare/​make/​wage war (on somebody/​something) go to war (against/​with somebody) cause/​spark/​provoke/​foment/​quell unrest incite/​lead/​crush/​suppress a revolt/​rebellion launch/​mount/​carry out a surprise/​terrorist attack prevent/​halt/​represent an escalation of the conflict be torn apart by/​be on the brink of civil war enter/​invade/​occupy somebody’s territory lead/​launch/​resist/​repel an invasionMilitary operations adopt/​develop/​implement/​pursue a military strategy carry out/​execute/​perform military operations/​manoeuvres/(especially US English) maneuvers send/​deploy/​station/​pull back/​withdraw troops go on/​fly/​carry out a reconnaissance/​rescue mission train/​equip/​deploy army/​military/​combat units lead/​launch/​conduct a raid/​a surprise attack/​an (air/​airborne/​amphibious) assault (on somebody) employ/​use guerrilla tactics conduct/​wage biological/​guerrilla warfare fight/​crush/​defeat the rebels/​the insurgency suffer/​inflict a crushing defeat achieve/​win a decisive victory halt/​stop the British/​German/​Russian advance order/​force a retreatFighting join/​serve in the army/​navy/​air force be/​go/​remain/​serve on active duty serve/​complete/​return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/​strike/​engage/​defeat/​kill/​destroy the enemy see/​report/​be engaged in heavy fighting call for/​be met with armed resistance come under heavy/​machine-gun/​mortar fire fire a machine-gun/​mortar shells/​rockets (at somebody/​something) shoot a rifle/​a pistol/​bullets/​missiles launch/​fire a cruise/​ballistic/​anti-tank missile use biological/​chemical/​nuclear weapons inflict/​suffer/​sustain heavy losses/​casualties be hit/​killed by enemy/​friendly/​artillery fire become/​be held as a prisoner of warCivilians in war harm/​kill/​target/​protect innocent/​unarmed civilians cause/​avoid/​limit/​minimize civilian casualties/​collateral damage impose/​enforce/​lift a curfew engage in/​be a victim of ethnic cleansing be sent to an internment/​a concentration camp accept/​house/​resettle refugees fleeing from war fear/​threaten military/​violent reprisals commit/​be accused of war crimes/​crimes against humanity/​genocideMaking peace make/​bring/​win/​achieve/​maintain/​promote peace call for/​negotiate/​broker/​declare a ceasefire/​a temporary truce sign a ceasefire agreement call for/​bring/​put an end to hostilities demand/​negotiate/​accept the surrender of somebody/​something establish/​send (in) a peacekeeping force negotiate/​conclude/​ratify/​sign/​accept/​reject/​break/​violate a peace treaty See related entries: Conflict
  2. 2the Civil War the war fought in the US between the northern and the southern states in the years 1861 to 1865 Culturethe Civil WarIn the US in the19th century, an increasing number of people mostly from the industrial northern states, called abolitionists, wanted to make slavery illegal, but the more agricultural southern states wanted the right for each state to decide whether to keep slavery or not. Southern states also wanted individual states to have more power than the US federal government and many became secessionists, believing that southern states should secede from the Union (= become independent from the US). In 1860, Abraham Lincoln became President and although he was against slavery, he said that he would not end it. The southern states did not believe this and eleven states left the Union and formed the Confederate States of America, often called the Confederacy, with Jefferson Davis as its President and its capital in Richmond, Virginia. On 12 April 1861 the Confederate Army attacked Fort Sumter, which was in the Confederate state of South Carolina but still occupied by the Union Army, and the Civil War began. Over the next four years, the Union army tried to take control of the South. After the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, President Lincoln made the famous Gettysburg Address about democracy. The same year he issued the Emancipation Proclamation which made slavery illegal, but only in the Confederacy. Slaves played an important part in the war, giving information to Union soldiers and also serving in the Union army. In the South especially, people suffered greatly during the war and had little to eat. On 9 April 1865, when the South could fight no more, General Robert E Leesurrendered to General Ulysses S Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. After the war, many Southerners still had very bad feelings towards the North and did not want to end slavery. On 14 April 1865, an actor who supported the South, John Wilkes Booth, shot and killed President Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington. Many southern cities had been destroyed during the war and the economy ruined, and there followed a long, difficult period of Reconstruction. compare English Civil War
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: civil war

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