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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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British Dictionary definitions for civilize


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 civilize

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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