Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Courteous behavior; politeness.
  • n. A courteous act or utterance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Politeness; courtesy; an individual act or a manner of behaving which conforms to social conventions of propriety.
  • n. The state of society in which the relations and duties of a citizen are recognized and obeyed; civilization.
  • n. A civil office, or a civil process.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of society in which the relations and duties of a citizen are recognized and obeyed; a state of civilization.
  • n. A civil office, or a civil process.
  • n. Courtesy; politeness; kind attention; good breeding; a polite act or expression.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Citizenship.
  • n. The state of being civilized; redemption from barbarity; civilization. See first extract under civilization.
  • n. Relation to the civil law rather than to religion.
  • n. Good breeding; politeness, or an act of politeness; courtesy; kind attention: as, to show one many civilities.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. formal or perfunctory politeness
  • n. the act of showing regard for others

Etymologies

Latin civilitas: compare French civilité. See civil. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Papa addressed him at the school tea-drinking, with _constrained_ civility, but still with _civility_.

    Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle

  • The term civility refers to behaviour between persons and groups that conforms to a social mode that is, in accordance with the civil society, as itself being a foundational principle of society and law.

    Manners, Civility, Social Graces and Love of One's Neighbor

  • KING (on camera): And striking to listen to the ceremonies today, Anderson, the term civility used over and over again at the cathedral in Washington in recent days as the final tributes were paid to the 38th president of the United States.

    CNN Transcript Jan 2, 2007

  • Therefore, it is imperative that we also include the word civility in our national discourse.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • As Booth was a sweet-tempered man, as well as somewhat of a philosopher, he behaved with all the good-humour imaginable, and indeed, with more than his companions; who, however, shewed him what they call civility, that is, they neither struck him nor spit in his face.

    Amelia — Complete

  • WATERS: Vojislav Kostunica, the president-elect of Yugoslavia, speaking on Serbian television about replacing what he calls the civility of power.

    CNN Transcript Oct 6, 2000

  • English, Squire -- that's English servility, which they call civility, and English meanness and beggin ', which they call parquisite.

    The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England — Complete

  • "It is not so neither altogether," cries the lawyer; "but custom hath established a present or fee to them at the delivery of a prisoner, which they call civility-money, and expect as in a manner their due, though in reality they have no right."

    Amelia — Complete

  • While I am a big believer in civility, one must take a stand.

    Matthew Yglesias » Marijuana Legalization as a Revenue Enhancer

  • "The lack of civility is very disturbing," said Terrence C. Donilon, the archdiocesan spokesman.

    Catholic Blogs Aim To Purge Dissenters

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