Definition of civvy in English:



  • 1Civilian clothes, as opposed to uniform.

    ‘the Chief Constable came along in civvies’
    • ‘When he's in civvies, he tap-taps down the street.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But you wouldn't bet against him turning up there in civvies in future, management being an ambition still left to fulfil.’
    • ‘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 was watching the class when one of the instructors came over and invited me to join in, even though I was in civvies.’
    • ‘All were back in their civvies again after lunch for the spectacular parade of crews through the city.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘For this, patrolling, including by policemen in civvies, needs to be intensified at these places,’ said Khan.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then he asked me if I was wearing my suspenders under my civvies because he was wearing his.’
    • ‘They have to be in the sea cadets for three months, have to be in civvies while the other are in uniform.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is now back in civvies and one doubts she is pining for her days in the blue uniform.’
    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!’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You're ordering a pizza when you think a civvy has pushed in front of you.’
      • ‘We're all pulling back as soon as the civvies are all evacuated.’
      • ‘Why should we have to suffer the failings of civvies in the armed forces?’
      • ‘Turning civvies into sailors is one of HMS Raleigh's most important roles.’
      • ‘First, a light recon group would have to evacuate any civvies in the area.’
      • ‘Another soldier from your unit, Pte Smith, is drinking with his mates including some civvies you do not recognise.’
      • ‘But three knew that they would have packed as many civvies on board to reduce losses on the colony.’
      • ‘Pete never settled after coming out of the RAF and could not accept the way civvies lived.’
      non-military person, non-combatant, ordinary citizen, private citizen
      View synonyms


  • [attributive] Relating to civilians.

    ‘fliers who left the services for civvy airlines’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Besides, these Kirkland galleons are pretty tough for civvy ships.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was in civvy attire and coaching from the sideline.’
    • ‘The officers and NCOs among the exodus are generally snapped up by civvy employers, such is the regard for their qualities.’


Late 19th century: abbreviation.