Definition of civilize in English:

civilize

(also civilise)

verb

[with object]usually as adjective civilized
  • 1Bring (a place or people) to a stage of social development considered to be more advanced.

    ‘a civilized society’
    • ‘They must tame it, accompany it, humanise it, civilise it.’
    • ‘His study begins with the apparent golden age of the press, when the press was, or rather thought itself to be, the chief instrument in the attempt to improve the people and to civilize society.’
    • ‘The teens take the opportunity to refine and civilize the primitive man, and to give him the appreciation of modern education.’
    • ‘They must take the lead in civilising our streets and reclaiming them for local communities.’
    • ‘I think we can civilise global capital, provided we realize who the beneficiaries are, and as I say, they are the trade union members, the pensioners, the workers.’
    • ‘This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world.’
    • ‘It is the public places that civilize our cities.’
    • ‘Both countries have a spying and military heritage, and both feel they have a mission to civilise the world.’
    • ‘Social reformers believed that carefully designed settlements would curb many of these excesses, help to civilise the navvy and improve his work rate.’
    • ‘He is a man of plain words, impatient with metaphor, fascinated by the structure of the land and evidence of early attempts to cultivate and civilise it.’
    • ‘Now we need to apply that partnership further to improve Britain and make it a more civilised place.’
    • ‘It is the way we have tried to civilise the world and we must not forget that.’
    • ‘Imbued with the poetics of nature, comfort, wisdom and healing, it also recalls the heroic curved timber bridges of earlier eras that helped to link and civilise Canada's vast hinterland.’
    • ‘The question is: will acting out a social comedy in this colony really help to civilise them?’
    • ‘There is clearly a major confrontation at the moment about how we in Australia find our own way to civilize global capital.’
    • ‘At times like these, I feel the urge to move away from home and try to find a more civilized environment to live in.’
    • ‘All civilized societies should provide aid to those unable to obtain the means of subsistence.’
    • ‘Abandoning humanity's civilising journey would surrender the world to the aggressors who rule by fear.’
    • ‘Moreover, through the use of space, light, colour and reinterpretation of archetypal forms such as modestly scaled internal courtyards, it manages to humanize and civilize workplace life.’
    • ‘Both responded to the story of Rome as the endlessly fascinating adventures of a people who thought of themselves as having a mission to civilize the world.’
    enlighten, edify, educate, instruct, refine, cultivate, polish, sophisticate, socialize, humanize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1as adjective civilized Polite and good-mannered.
      ‘such an affront to civilized behaviour will no longer be tolerated’
      • ‘This gives the school a decent chance of operating in a civilised, self respecting environment.’
      • ‘It was a very civilized process and that seemed to anger a lot of people.’
      • ‘But she held it in and calmed down, as any civilized and respectable queen should do.’
      • ‘So it is in our interest to demonstrate to them why it would be to their benefit to play by civilized rules.’
      • ‘That's kind of the civilized way to do it when there's not a great deal of animosity.’
      • ‘If you don't like what someone has to say, then engage them in a civilized discussion.’
      • ‘He not only wants the best food, he wants to be handled in a civilized manner, too.’
      • ‘So long as one nurses the hope of civilized co-existence, one tries to come to terms with the ground realities.’
      • ‘Two hours later, I was on my way out in a much more civilized manner than I made my way in.’
      • ‘We are willing to do it in a civilized way, but within a sensible time framework.’
      • ‘I am pleased that we are able to undertake a polite, civilised and rational exchange of views.’
      • ‘Eventually, I think he will accept a deal, but he's got to play by civilized rules.’
      • ‘We stuffed ourselves silly when the pizza arrived, of course in a civilized manner.’
      • ‘Training a child to sit at table and eat food in a civilized manner is one of the basic rituals of culture.’
      • ‘Sitting their sons down in a civilized manner, they announce their intention to separate.’
      • ‘Are we in fact enacting their revenge in a civilized way so that they don't have to go out there and do it in a primitive manner?’
      • ‘So it is time to have a dialogue and sort out the problems in civilized ways.’
      polite, courteous, well mannered, good mannered, civil, decorous, gentlemanly, ladylike, gracious
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 17th century: from French civiliser, from civil ‘civil’.

Pronunciation

civilize

/ˈsɪvɪlʌɪz/