Denotation vs. Connotation


or (especially British) civilise

[siv-uh-lahyz] /ˈsɪv əˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), civilized, civilizing.
to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine:
Rome civilized the barbarians.
Origin of civilize
1595-1605; < French civiliser; see civil, -ize
Related forms
civilizable, adjective
[siv-uh-lahy-zuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌsɪv əˈlaɪ zəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
civilizer, noun
decivilize, verb (used with object), decivilized, decivilizing.
noncivilizable, adjective
overcivilize, verb, overcivilized, overcivilizing.
uncivilizable, adjective
uncivilize, verb (used with object), uncivilized, uncivilizing.
educate, teach, instruct, polish, sophisticate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for civilised
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No policy not based upon the truth has ever long prevailed in any civilised country.

  • Ah, the ingratitude of the masses is a disgrace to civilised humanity!

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • When Stranleigh sat down to supper, he regretted more than ever the civilised fare of the farm house.

  • Under the Moors this region was the richest and most civilised in Europe.

    Rosinante to the Road Again John Dos Passos
  • Like everything else in civilised existence, fire was a human discovery.

    Flowers of Freethought George W. Foote
  • This was the work known now to all the civilised world as "The Meyer Madonna."

    Holbein Beatrice Fortescue
  • Surely the Commander-in-Chief of a civilised army will not allow his men to be massacred as they are now being!

    The Invasion William Le Queux
  • That was unsatisfactory, because Asia is not going to be civilised after the methods of the West.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
  • This man, although free in a civilised country, would return to his idleness and resume his former ignorance.

    Newton Forster Captain Frederick Marryat
British Dictionary definitions for civilised


verb (transitive)
to bring out of savagery or barbarism into a state characteristic of civilization
to refine, educate, or enlighten
Derived Forms
civilizable, civilisable, adjective
civilizer, civiliser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for civilised



c.1600, "to bring out of barbarism," from French civiliser, verb from Old French civil (adj.), from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Meaning "become civilized" is from 1868. Related: Civilized; civilizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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