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Borrowed from Latin civilitas: compare French civilité. See civil.



civility (countable and uncountable, plural civilities)

  1. Speech or behaviour that is fit for civil interactions; politeness, courtesy. [from 16th c.]
    • Chesterfield
      The insolent civility of a proud man is, if possible, more shocking than his rudeness could be.
  2. (chiefly in the plural) An individual act or expression of polite behaviour; a courtesy. [from 17th c.]
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, I.3:
      Mr Lovelace received from every one those civilities which were due to his birth […].
  3. (now archaic) The state or fact of being civilized; civilization. [from 16th c.]
    • Sir J. Davies
      Monarchies have risen from barbarism to civility, and fallen again to ruin.
  4. (obsolete) A civil office; a civil capacity. [16th c.]
    • Latimer
      To serve in a civility.