Definition of incivility in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Rude or unsociable speech or behaviour.

    ‘absenteeism and incivility were not tolerated’
    • ‘The lager lout/hooligan reputation has been something of a British characteristic for a while, but now the culture of incivility seems to be affecting more areas of society.’
    • ‘When politeness is all we have connecting us to others, incivility takes on an exaggerated significance.’
    • ‘The code of conduct stipulates among other things that lawyers should conduct the cases in a respectful manner, restrains them from acting with incivility, rudeness or showing disrespectful conduct to the presiding judge.’
    • ‘And precisely because the questions are so important we should be prepared, as in political matters, to tolerate a high degree of incivility as the price of open and sincere debate.’
    • ‘We should not be afraid to speak out against acts of incivility - simple things like asking the person at the beach to refrain from swearing.’
    • ‘All about us one sees the flourishing of a vigorous new illiteracy, widely distributed and attached to muscular incivility and crime.’
    • ‘Complaints against North Yorkshire Police officers continue to fall - but half of all allegations still involve claims of assault or incivility, according to a new report.’
    • ‘For certain disorders, conflicting theories emerged about their aetiology and pathogenesis, at times engendering negative attitudes among workers in one or the other field, including derision and incivility.’
    • ‘While acknowledging the tough-mindedness of this view, I can't help hoping that we can one day work out how to have a civilization that doesn't depend on the threat of the ultimate incivility.’
    • ‘There has been a rise in the number of complaints of incivility in certain areas, and this has been identified here as fixed penalty tickets that have been issued for road safety matters like driving while not wearing a seat belt.’
    • ‘The danger associated with this incivility is marked in the change of behaviour.’
    • ‘Last year 70 complaints of incivility were recorded by the force.’
    • ‘However, the principle of civility certainly does not require the state to enforce that value, by criminalising incivility.’
    • ‘Enraged bus users are misdialling and then subjecting the holiday team to every type of incivility, both before and after they were told of their error.’
    • ‘In the same three-month period, complaints for the central area included five for incivility, seven for assault, one for racial behaviour, and one for unlawful detention.’
    • ‘Dennis and Erdos think that the fear is well justified by a thousand cumulative trends, beginning with the habitual incivility of teenagers from broken homes and ending with serious and organised crime.’
    • ‘This spectrum of ‘legitimized’ violence continues through the acts of the eco-terrorists and animal liberationists to widespread rudeness, crudeness and incivility.’
    • ‘‘Our quest here is not about incivility, the promotion of rancour or pursuit of conflict, but about working together for development,’ Manning said.’
    • ‘Complaints of incivility have since fallen by 19.4 per cent in the last quarter, while neglect of duty dropped 9.7 per cent.’
    • ‘This seemingly minor incident is a manifestation in this writer's opinion of the new culture of incivility and bad behaviour which are now permeating our society.’
    rudeness, discourtesy, discourteousness, impoliteness, lack of politeness
    bad manners, ill-manneredness, lack of manners, unmannerliness, disrespect, disrespectfulness, boorishness, uncouthness, lack of refinement, ungraciousness, lack of social grace, ungentlemanly behaviour, unladylike behaviour
    insolence, impertinence, impudence
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun]An impolite or offensive comment.
      ‘he deserved to be put in his place after all the incivilities he'd been hurling at her’
      • ‘Thus, by taking action on the small incivilities, the bigger and more serious anti-social behaviours should decline as well.’
      • ‘Based on our previous work, we hypothesised that areas which are pleasant with lots of greenery and few incivilities might encourage people to take exercise and thereby influence levels of obesity.’
      • ‘People's worries about crime and incivilities of various kinds inevitably take their toll upon the quality of life.’
      • ‘Development of the teacher-student relationship is critical to deterring or decreasing incivilities.’
      • ‘A whole range of experiences generates fear of crime (fear of violence), from physical injury to experiences of minor incivilities that threaten ontological security and belonging.’


Mid 16th century: from French incivilité or late Latin incivilitas, from Latin incivilis, from in- not + civilis of a citizen (see civil).