Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To raise from barbarism to an enlightened stage of development; bring out of a primitive or savage state.
  • transitive verb To educate in matters of culture and refinement; make more polished or sophisticated.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To reclaim from a savage or semi-barbarous state; introduce order and civic organization among; refine and enlighten; elevate in social and individual life.
  • To make subject to a civil instead of a criminal process.
  • To place under civil, as opposed to military, control; transfer from military to civil control.
  • To behave civilly or with propriety.
  • Also civilise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To reclaim from a savage state; to instruct in the rules and customs of civilization; to educate; to refine.
  • transitive verb Obs. or R. To admit as suitable to a civilized state.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Alternative spelling of civilise.

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

  • verb teach or refine to be discriminative in taste or judgment
  • verb raise from a barbaric to a civilized state

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French civiliser, corresponding to civil +‎ -ize.

Examples

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • It was an idea far ahead of its time, born of a desire not merely to "civilize" a seemingly moribund Muslim world, but to unite East and West, the Baghdad Railway could have fostered not just greater economic integration for European benefit, but an inter-cultural renaissance across Eurasia as well evoking heyday of the great Muslim Empires -- Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal -- that last united these lands into one broad cultural ecumene.

    Mark Levine: Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

  • Afghanistan is far larger and more rural geographically than Iraq was; some say that to adequately occupy and "civilize" the full population would take hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of troops.

    Stuart Whatley: Civilizing Afghanistan While We Decivilize Ourselves

  • Afghanistan is far larger and more rural geographically than Iraq was; some say that to adequately occupy and "civilize" the full population would take hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of troops.

    Stuart Whatley: Civilizing Afghanistan While We Decivilize Ourselves

  • And it definitely follows the pattern of a woman from the East coming out West to "civilize" it.

    Basics of the Western

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