Definition of civvy in English:



  • 1Civilian clothes, as opposed to uniform.

    ‘the Chief Constable came along in civvies’
    • ‘It was always such a strange thing to him to walk around in civvies.’
    • ‘He had folded up his bashfulness and put it away with his civvies.’
    • ‘Photo shoot over, she is dressed in her civvies - black, red and white sportswear, floor-length coat - and supping on hot chocolate in an empty room in the studio.’
    • ‘The contractor with the shaved head said he traded his Army uniform years ago for a technician's civvies.’
    • ‘I insisted that the actors wear their street clothes, even to the extent of ordering several who arrived on stage in costume to change back to civvies.’
    • ‘I was watching the class when one of the instructors came over and invited me to join in, even though I was in civvies.’
    • ‘She sneaked into town on a freight train, covered her uniform with civvies, stuffed her hair into a floppy hat and donned some oversized Ray-Bans.’
    • ‘When he's in civvies, he tap-taps down the street.’
    • ‘He's in the army now, but his luck hasn't changed, because he runs into Tom, wearing civvies and giving Fred some sass.’
    • ‘He was in civvies rather than a uniform and he didn't give me a chance to clean up, although I carry bags with me to do just that.’
    • ‘Then he asked me if I was wearing my suspenders under my civvies because he was wearing his.’
    • ‘‘For this, patrolling, including by policemen in civvies, needs to be intensified at these places,’ said Khan.’
    • ‘He is in civvies today - immaculate grey suit, buffed shoes, short back and sides.’
    • ‘‘He is smaller in his civvies,’ quipped one of the blue-rinse set.’
    • ‘She is now back in civvies and one doubts she is pining for her days in the blue uniform.’
    • ‘In her civvies she looks like any other fit female - but Monica, 35, is the British powerlifting champion in her class and is awesomely strong.’
    • ‘He's floppy-fringed, blond and pinkly handsome with slightly buck teeth; even in civvies you'd pick him out as an army officer at 500 yards in the rush hour.’
    • ‘A simple match in the factory where the British Army made its uniforms would have done the trick, because any English soldier forced to turn up at the front line in civvies would have surrendered on the spot.’
    • ‘Out in the car park, live wire Menashe has put away his coloured silk racing shirt and donned his civvies.’
    • ‘The contractor with the shaved-head said he traded his Army uniform years ago for a technician's civvies.’
    • ‘As Christmas rolls around again, it is not just department store Santas who are pulling on the false beards and changing out of their civvies.’
    • ‘They have to be in the sea cadets for three months, have to be in civvies while the other are in uniform.’
    • ‘For their sakes, given how badly they are outgunned, one hopes they will have the sense to throw down their weapons, change into civvies, and go home.’
    • ‘However, it would have been nice to take the actual NHL teams into these arenas in civvies and battle it out that way.’
    • ‘But you wouldn't bet against him turning up there in civvies in future, management being an ambition still left to fulfil.’
    • ‘After 32 years, she is adapting to a new life in civvies.’
    • ‘We went up to the landing and there passing down by the end of the garden was a party of about 10 men in civvies, carrying rifles heading for the Pontoon Road.’
    • ‘Maybe only Leapers and Observers were of high enough rank to wear civvies; he didn't have one of those black scuba diving-style outfits in his closet.’
    • ‘An ordinary citizen at Scarborough on his annual Territorial Army camp was turned away from the Spa although he was with two friends in their civvies.’
    • ‘I'm sure walking around in civvies hasn't been a hardship either.’
    • ‘He is in civvies today - immaculate grey suit, buffed shoes, short back and sides - he wears them as if they were a uniform: pressed creases, ramrod back, purposeful handshake.’
    • ‘All were back in their civvies again after lunch for the spectacular parade of crews through the city.’
    • ‘And once he has completed his dual roles in the church, he will swap back to civvies for the reception, where he says he will carry out his most nerve-wracking role - the speech by the father of the bride.’
    • ‘Armed with copies of the morning newspapers, flasks of coffee, pre-packed butties and dressed in their civvies, they chatted, or played cards to pass the time.’
    1. 1.1British A civilian, as distinct from a member of the police force or armed services.
      ‘I'm a civvy, but I work closely with the military’
      • ‘Some of these civvies would be armed with 357s and other weapons.’
      • ‘One soldier complains to his fellow soldiers after the fact, ‘I saw you shooting civvies!’’
      • ‘Pete never settled after coming out of the RAF and could not accept the way civvies lived.’
      • ‘But three knew that they would have packed as many civvies on board to reduce losses on the colony.’
      • ‘Turning civvies into sailors is one of HMS Raleigh's most important roles.’
      • ‘After phoning about it a smug civvy took great delight in telling me that it was being fixed and not to bother them until next week… before promptly hanging up.’
      • ‘We're all pulling back as soon as the civvies are all evacuated.’
      • ‘Another soldier from your unit, Pte Smith, is drinking with his mates including some civvies you do not recognise.’
      • ‘The sixteen civvies with the highest individual score will arrange themselves into four-person teams and play each other for the rights to compete at E3.’
      • ‘First, a light recon group would have to evacuate any civvies in the area.’
      • ‘You're ordering a pizza when you think a civvy has pushed in front of you.’
      • ‘Why should we have to suffer the failings of civvies in the armed forces?’
      non-military person, non-combatant, ordinary citizen, private citizen
      View synonyms


  • attributive Relating to civilians.

    ‘fliers who left the services for civvy airlines’
    • ‘The officers and NCOs among the exodus are generally snapped up by civvy employers, such is the regard for their qualities.’
    • ‘He was in civvy attire and coaching from the sideline.’
    • ‘I was a civvy nurse before, so I've seen a lot of injuries, but it was more the look on their faces that will always stay in my mind.’
    • ‘I asked him why he didn't turn in his bloody soldier suit for the big civvy dough that was definitely his for the asking.’
    • ‘Besides, these Kirkland galleons are pretty tough for civvy ships.’
    • ‘Sportspeople, because of their status, are too often forgiven crimes their civvy counterparts would be distanced because of.’
    • ‘He is sitting in a lounge at Celtic Park in civvy clothes.’
    • ‘Some wore civilian jackets and khaki trousers, others civvy trousers and khaki uniform jackets.’
    • ‘‘There's absolutely nothing to worry about,’ he says, and instantly you know there's nothing to worry about because worry is too weedy and snivelly a civvy word for what we ought to be feeling.’
    non-military, non-combatant, civil
    View synonyms


  • Civvy Street

    • informal Civilian life.

      ‘ex-service people starting life on Civvy Street’
      • ‘His two younger brothers, Steven and John, were also once in the army, but both are now back on Civvy Street working as welders.’
      • ‘Called up at the end of the war in 1945 he served with the Eighth Army as part of the occupation troops in Austria and Italy before returning to Civvy Street and buying his first shop in 1952.’
      • ‘When you are in the forces you get the back-up but on Civvy Street you don't have that support.’
      • ‘On his return to Civvy Street he went back to bricklaying.’
      • ‘On Civvy Street, Nicola is a registered nurse and feels that the TA has helped to develop her leadership and teamwork skills while improving her fitness.’


Late 19th century: abbreviation.