Definition for CIV'IL

CIV'IL, a. [L. civilis, from civis, a citizen; Fr. civil; It. civile; Sp. civil. Qu. the Welsh cau, to shut, inclose, fence, hedge; for the rude inhabitants of antiquity fortified their towns with hedges, stakes or palisades.]

  1. Relating to the community, or to the policy and government of the citizens and subjects of a state; as in the phrases, civil rights, civil government, civil privileges, civil war, civil justice. It is opposed to criminal; as, a civil suit, a suit between citizens alone; whereas a criminal process is between the state and a citizen. It is distinguished from ecclesiastical, which respects the church; and from military, which respects the army and navy.
  2. Relating to any man as a member of a community; as, civil power, civil rights, the power or rights which a man enjoys as a citizen.
  3. Reduced to order, rule and government; under a regular administration; implying some refinement of manners; not savage or wild; as, civil life, civil society.
  4. Civilized; courteous; complaisant; gentle and obliging; well-bred; affable; kind; having the manners of a city, as opposed to the rough, rude, coarse manners of a savage or clown. Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung. – Prior.
  5. Grave; sober; not gay or showy. Till civil suited morn appear. – Milton.
  6. Complaisant; polite; a popular colloquial use of the word.
  7. Civil death, in law, is that which cuts off a man from civil society, or its rights and benefits, as banishment, outlawry, excommunication, entering into a monastery, &c., as distinguished from natural death.
  8. Civil law, in a general sense, the law of a state, city or country; but in an appropriate sense, the Roman law; the municipal law of the Roman empire, comprised in the Institutes, Code and Digest of Justinian and the Novel Constitutions. – Blackstone.
  9. Civil list, the officers of civil government, who are paid from the public treasury; also, the revenue appropriated to support the civil government. – Blackstone. The army of James II. was paid out of his civil list. – Hamilton.
  10. Civil state, the whole body of the laity or citizens, not included under the military, maritime, and ecclesiastical states.
  11. Civil war, a war between the people of the same state or city; opposed to foreign war.
  12. Civil year, the legal year, or annual account of time which a government appoints to be used in its own dominions, as distinguished from the natural year, which is measured by the revolution of the heavenly bodies. – Bailey. Encyc.
  13. Civil architecture, the architecture which is employed in constructing buildings for the purposes of civil life, in distinction from military and naval architecture; as private houses, palaces, churches, &c.

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