- an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached.
- those people or nations that have reached such a state.
- any type of culture, society, etc., of a specific place, time, or group: Greek civilization.
- the act or process of civilizing, as by bringing out of a savage, uneducated, or unrefined state, or of being civilized: Rome’s civilization of barbaric tribes was admirable.
- cultural refinement; refinement of thought and cultural appreciation: The letters of Madame de Sévigné reveal her wit and civilization.
- cities or populated areas in general, as opposed to unpopulated or wilderness areas: The plane crashed in the jungle, hundreds of miles from civilization.
- modern comforts and conveniences, as made possible by science and technology: After a week in the woods, without television or even running water, the campers looked forward to civilization again.
- a human society that has highly developed material and spiritual resources and a complex cultural, political, and legal organization; an advanced state in social development
- the peoples or nations collectively who have achieved such a state
- the total culture and way of life of a particular people, nation, region, or periodclassical civilization
- the process of bringing or achieving civilization
- intellectual, cultural, and moral refinement
- cities or populated areas, as contrasted with sparsely inhabited areas, deserts, etc
1704, “law which makes a criminal process civil,” from civilize + -ation. Sense of “civilized condition” first recorded 1772, probably from French civilisation, to be an opposite to barbarity and a distinct word from civility. Sense of a particular human society in a civilized condition, considered as a whole over time, is from 1857. Related: Civilizational.