Ask Difference

Civic vs. Civil — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 11, 2023
Civic pertains to a city or citizenship, while civil relates to citizens or their rights and is also used to describe courteous behavior.
Civic vs. Civil — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Civic and Civil

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Key Differences

Civic and civil, though often used interchangeably, are distinct in their connotations and usage. Civic primarily refers to matters related to a city or town, especially in the context of its administration or public services. A civic center, for example, is a prominent building or complex of buildings in a town that hosts community events. Civil, meanwhile, pertains to the general population or their rights, as seen in terms such as civil liberties, which means the freedoms that protect an individual from government actions.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 11, 2023
Civic engagement is a term that denotes an individual's participation in the collective life of a community, which might involve voting, attending town hall meetings, or joining local organizations. On the other hand, civil discourse refers to an engagement in conversation intended to enhance understanding, where participants demonstrate mutual respect and politeness, even if disagreements arise.
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Oct 11, 2023
Institutions like civic associations often focus on improving local communities through volunteer work, fundraising, and advocacy. Civil society, however, encompasses the entirety of voluntary civic and social organizations or institutions that are distinct from the force-backed structures of a government. These can range from local community groups to large international NGOs.
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Oct 11, 2023
Civic duties are responsibilities expected of citizens, such as jury duty or paying taxes. In comparison, civil duties might extend to larger societal obligations, like adhering to laws that ensure the smooth functioning of society. The term civil can also imply politeness or courtesy, as in a "civil conversation," which implies a discussion devoid of hostility.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 11, 2023
It's essential to remember that while "civic" often has a more localized or community-based connotation, "civil" is broader, dealing with matters of citizenry, their rights, or behaviors towards each other in a society at large.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 11, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Pertaining to a city or citizenship.
Relating to citizens, their rights, or courteous behavior.
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Oct 11, 2023

Common Uses

Civic duties, civic center.
Civil rights, civil discourse.
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Oct 11, 2023

Scope

Often more localized or community-based.
Broader, pertaining to general citizenry or politeness.
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Examples

Civic engagement, civic association.
Civil society, civil conversation.
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Relation to Society

Typically focuses on community involvement or service.
Concerns citizens' rights and societal behaviors.
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Compare with Definitions

Civic

Relating to a city or town.
The mayor discussed the civic developments in the annual meeting.
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Civil

Pertaining to citizens and their rights.
The country has made significant progress in advancing civil liberties.
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Oct 11, 2023

Civic

Pertaining to the duties or activities of people in relation to their community.
Volunteering at the local shelter is a form of civic engagement.
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Oct 11, 2023

Civil

Polite or courteous in behavior.
They maintained a civil conversation despite their differences.
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Oct 11, 2023

Civic

Involving or relating to the responsibilities of citizens.
Voting is a crucial civic duty.
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Civil

Denoting civil law, in contrast to criminal, religious, or military matters.
She hired a lawyer for her civil lawsuit.
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Civic

Concerned with the wellbeing of the community.
The civic initiative aims to provide meals to the homeless.
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Civil

Concerning non-military life or affairs.
The veteran had difficulty adjusting to civil life after the war.
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Civic

Of or belonging to a city's administrative responsibilities.
The civic committee will decide on the new park's location.
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Civil

Relating to the general population or public affairs.
The civil unrest has been growing in the past few months.
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Civic

Relating to a city or town, especially its administration; municipal
A meeting of civic and business leaders
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Nov 21, 2019

Civil

Of, relating to, or befitting a citizen or citizens
Civil duties.
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Civic

Of, relating to, or belonging to a city, a citizen, or citizenship; municipal or civil.
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Civil

Of or relating to citizens and their interrelations with one another or with the state
Government agencies concerned with civil affairs.
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Civic

Of, relating to, or belonging to a city, a citizen, or citizenship; municipal or civil.
Thousands of people came to the Civic Center to show off their civic pride.
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Nov 21, 2019

Civil

Of ordinary citizens or ordinary community life as distinguished from the military or the ecclesiastical
Married in a civil ceremony at city hall.
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Civic

Of or relating to the citizen, or of good citizenship and its rights and duties.
Civic duty
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Civil

Sufficiently observing or befitting accepted social usages; polite
A civil reply.
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Civic

Relating to, or derived from, a city or citizen; relating to man as a member of society, or to civil affairs.
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Civil

Being in accordance with or denoting legally recognized divisions of time
A civil year.
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Civic

Of or relating or belonging to a city;
Civic center
Civic problems
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Civil

(Law) Relating to the rights of private individuals and legal proceedings concerning these rights as distinguished from criminal, military, or international regulations or proceedings.
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Civic

Of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals;
Civil rights
Civil liberty
Civic duties
Civic pride
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Civil

(uncomparable) Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion.
She went into civil service because she wanted to help the people.
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Civil

(comparable) Behaving in a reasonable or polite manner.
It was very civil of him to stop the argument.
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Civil

(archaic) In a peaceful and well-ordered state.
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Civil

(legal) Relating to private relations among citizens, as opposed to criminal matters.
A civil case
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Civil

Secular.
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Civil

Pertaining to a city or state, or to a citizen in his relations to his fellow citizens or to the state; within the city or state.
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Civil

Subject to government; reduced to order; civilized; not barbarous; - said of the community.
England was very rude and barbarous; for it is but even the other day since England grew civil.
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Civil

Performing the duties of a citizen; obedient to government; - said of an individual.
Civil men come nearer the saints of God than others; they come within a step or two of heaven.
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Civil

Having the manners of one dwelling in a city, as opposed to those of savages or rustics; polite; courteous; complaisant; affable.
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Civil

Pertaining to civic life and affairs, in distinction from military, ecclesiastical, or official state.
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Nov 21, 2019

Civil

Relating to rights and remedies sought by action or suit distinct from criminal proceedings.
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Civil

Applying to ordinary citizens;
Civil law
Civil authorities
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Civil

Not rude; marked by satisfactory (or especially minimal) adherence to social usages and sufficient but not noteworthy consideration for others;
Even if he didn't like them he should have been civil
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Nov 21, 2019

Civil

Of or occurring within the state or between or among citizens of the state;
Civil affairs
Civil strife
Civil disobediece
Civil branches of government
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Civil

Of or relating to or befitting citizens as individuals;
Civil rights
Civil liberty
Civic duties
Civic pride
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Nov 21, 2019

Civil

(of divisions of time) legally recognized in ordinary affairs of life;
The civil calendar
A civil day begins at mean midnight
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Civil

Of or in a condition of social order;
Civil peoples
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Common Curiosities

Does civil only refer to politeness?

No, while it can mean polite behavior, it also pertains to citizens and their rights.
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Oct 11, 2023

How is civil society different from a government?

Civil society consists of voluntary civic and social organizations, separate from government structures.
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What's a primary distinction between civic and civil rights?

Civic rights often refer to local or community-based rights, while civil rights are broader, concerning the general population's rights.
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Oct 11, 2023

Why are civil liberties important?

They protect individual freedoms from potential government overreach or oppression.
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What is a civic center typically used for?

It's a building or complex for community events and services in a town or city.
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Are civic and civil synonyms?

No, while they can be related, they have distinct meanings and usages.
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Oct 11, 2023

Can civil discourse be a form of civic engagement?

Yes, engaging in polite, constructive conversation can be a part of civic involvement.
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Can a conversation be civil but not agreeable?

Yes, individuals can have civil discourse while holding opposing views.
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What are some examples of civic duties?

Voting, jury duty, and paying taxes are examples of civic duties.
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How does civil law differ from criminal law?

Civil law concerns disputes between individuals or organizations, while criminal law addresses breaches of laws set by the state.
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Oct 11, 2023

How does civic participation benefit a community?

It fosters community development, enhances democracy, and promotes the wellbeing of residents.
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Oct 11, 2023

Is a civic leader the same as a political leader?

Not always. A civic leader focuses on community betterment, while a political leader holds a formal position in government.
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Oct 11, 2023

Can a topic be both civic and civil in nature?

Yes, such as discussing citizens' rights within a specific city.
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Oct 11, 2023

What is a civic association?

It's a group focused on improving and advocating for local communities.
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Oct 11, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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