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[si-vil-i-tee] /sɪˈvɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural civilities.
courtesy; politeness.
a polite action or expression:
an exchange of civilities.
Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.
Origin of civility
1350-1400; Middle English civilite < Middle French < Latin cīvīlitāt- (stem of cīvīlitās) courtesy. See civil, -ity
Related forms
overcivility, noun
1. affability, amiability, manners, tact. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for civility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then, scoundrel, know, that a man's first duty is civility and tenderness to a woman.

    Wild Oats John O'Keeffe
  • I fancied that his civility proceeded from my having eulogised his mint-juleps.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Thanking the Chinaman for his civility, we went away, much pleased with the mandarin's country retreat.

  • He said, ‘She meant it as a civility, and thought you would like it.’

    The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) Charles C. F. Greville
  • Why will you call her Dexter when you know that it makes her throw aside all civility?

    Miss Dexie Stanford Eveleth
British Dictionary definitions for civility


noun (pl) -ties
politeness or courtesy, esp when formal
(often pl) an act of politeness
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 civility

late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas) "the art of governing; courteousness," from cvilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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