Definition of civilize in US English:

civilize

(British civilise)

verb

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

    ‘a civilized society’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is clearly a major confrontation at the moment about how we in Australia find our own way to civilize global capital.’
    • ‘It is the public places that civilize our cities.’
    • ‘It is the way we have tried to civilise the world and we must not forget that.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now we need to apply that partnership further to improve Britain and make it a more civilised place.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both countries have a spying and military heritage, and both feel they have a mission to civilise the world.’
    • ‘The teens take the opportunity to refine and civilize the primitive man, and to give him the appreciation of modern education.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world.’
    • ‘At times like these, I feel the urge to move away from home and try to find a more civilized environment to live in.’
    • ‘The question is: will acting out a social comedy in this colony really help to civilise them?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They must take the lead in civilising our streets and reclaiming them for local communities.’
    enlighten, edify, educate, instruct, refine, cultivate, polish, sophisticate, socialize, humanize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1as adjective civilized Polite and well-mannered.
      ‘such an affront to civilized behavior will no longer be tolerated’
      • ‘We stuffed ourselves silly when the pizza arrived, of course in a civilized manner.’
      • ‘So it is in our interest to demonstrate to them why it would be to their benefit to play by civilized rules.’
      • ‘He not only wants the best food, he wants to be handled in a civilized manner, too.’
      • ‘If you don't like what someone has to say, then engage them in a civilized discussion.’
      • ‘But she held it in and calmed down, as any civilized and respectable queen should do.’
      • ‘So it is time to have a dialogue and sort out the problems in civilized ways.’
      • ‘Training a child to sit at table and eat food in a civilized manner is one of the basic rituals of culture.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Two hours later, I was on my way out in a much more civilized manner than I made my way in.’
      • ‘Sitting their sons down in a civilized manner, they announce their intention to separate.’
      • ‘Eventually, I think he will accept a deal, but he's got to play by civilized rules.’
      • ‘I am pleased that we are able to undertake a polite, civilised and rational exchange of views.’
      • ‘This gives the school a decent chance of operating in a civilised, self respecting environment.’
      • ‘We are willing to do it in a civilized way, but within a sensible time framework.’
      • ‘That's kind of the civilized way to do it when there's not a great deal of animosity.’
      • ‘So long as one nurses the hope of civilized co-existence, one tries to come to terms with the ground realities.’
      • ‘It was a very civilized process and that seemed to anger a lot of people.’
      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

/ˈsivəˌlīz//ˈsɪvəˌlaɪz/