What is CIVIL?

In its original sense, this word means pertaining or appropriate to a member of a civitas or free political community; natural or proper to a citizen. Also, relating to the community, or to the policy and government of the citizens and subjects of a state. In the language of the law, It has various significations. In contradistinction to barbarous or savage, it indicates a state of society reduced to order and regular government; thus, we speak of civil life, civil society, civil government, and civil liberty. In contradistinction to criminal, it indicates the private rights and remedies of men, as members of the community, in contrast to those which are public and relate to the government ; thus, we speak of civil process and criminal process, civil jurisdiction and criminal jurisdiction. It is also used in contradistinction to military or ecclesiastical, to natural or foreign; thus, we speak of a civil station, as opposed to a military or an ecclesiastical station; a civil death, as opposed to a natural death ; a civil war, as opposed to a foreign war. Story, Const, i 791.

More On This Topic




Link to This Definition

Did you find this definition of CIVIL helpful? You can share it by copying the code below and adding it to your blog or web page.
Written and fact checked by The Law Dictionary