civil service

those branches of public service concerned with all governmental administrative functions outside the armed services.
the body of persons employed in these branches.
a system or method of appointing government employees on the basis of competitive examinations, rather than by political patronage.

1775–85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
civil service
1.  the service responsible for the public administration of the government of a country. It excludes the legislative, judicial, and military branches. Members of the civil service have no official political allegiance and are not generally affected by changes of governments
2.  the members of the civil service collectively

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

civil service
c.1785, originally in ref. to non-military staff of the East India Company. Civil servant is from 1800.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

civil service definition

The nonmilitary personnel who work for a government, applying its laws and regulations.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
It has been, and is, my earnest desire to correct abuses that have grown up in
  the civil service of the country.
The civil service can never be placed on a satisfactory basis until it is
  regulated by law.
As a means to this end, civil service reform should be in good faith enforced.
He discussed ways in which the poor could be trained for civil service jobs.
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