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Google says:

  • Civilization = 3,980,000 hits
  • Civilisation = 1,170,000 hits


-- Emperorbma 20:57, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I believe that my move is justified. As Wikipedia lists this as Civilization, and Google lists Civilization as the more common. A corresponding move also occured in civilize. -- Emperorbma 05:41, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Pointless Exercise - now we have lost all the discussion related to civilisation Of course Google lists it as the more common useage - amongst internet users, since English Internet usage is still dominated by Americans. But for how long ? Wait till the English speaking Indians, and rest of the British Commonwealth on the internet outnumber the Americans. Then will we have to change all the entries back again ?--Richardb 15:33, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Communal Understanding ???[edit]

According to the Wiktionary entry for communal understanding, we could say that the Boston Symphony Orchestra is a Civilizarion by this definition, since they have acheivments based on a communal understanding !

So sorry, I prefer my original rough defintions to this one.--Richardb 15:39, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I split the useage up into 3 diferint noun usages. In particular, the third, refers to Civilization with a capital C. As in the end of Civilization as we know it. I have litle doubt the ancient Chinese saw the Romans as not part of the Civilized World, just as much as many prejudiced and uninformed Westerners today consider many poor and illiterate people of India not part of Civilization. But the feeling may well be mutual in many respects. Just as no doubt Osama Bin Laden considers much of America to be not part of Civilization. Who is or is not civilised, and hence in Civilisation, is in the eye of the beholder. Today we happily talk about the Inca and Aztec civilisations, and yet the Europeans of the day generally called them savages. To Europe the Mongols were Barbarian hordes. But I doubt the Mongols saw themselves that way. Would the Ancient Greek philosophers consider today's football hooligans part of Civilization, as they saw it?--Richardb 15:59, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Yes, they would.

How can an understanding achieve something? I don't understand. --Kylemew 15:19, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Way too fancy[edit]

I was hoping there would be a good definition of what civilization is in terms of History of Humanity. But like so many wiki articles, the editors have tried to hard to make it look good. This is useless. It must include a Historical definition along the lines of :

the organization of several individuals into a society working towards a common goal with wants as well as needs in mind68.6.239.36 17:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

  • I agree, not with your example definition but with the idea that it should be more consice. Anyone else? --Kylemew 15:15, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

A person's preferred human society?[edit]

This is an opinion, some people prefer the wild.

Civilization as an "action noun"[edit]

Not being a lexical expert, but interested in the evolution of thought through language, I see civilization as a word like transition; indeed a transition from the "natural state" to a "civil" state that is presumably rules-based. So, in other words, I am saying that a "civilization" is really a "civilized society" as opposed to, say, a "tribal society." Since the quality of society is based on the complexity of its information (which includes morality--Durant), then civilization seems to have some other purpose, perhaps what we think of as capital. Capital, presumably, produces quality of life such as with medicine and pleasure, but also produces endless violence with horrific machines of war, such as the nuclear weapon.

The idea of civilization being and action noun like transition is hard to define and I can find only one reference: Princeton::Wordnet::Lexicographer Files.

My interest here is slightly reconstructive -- I have looked down on the ancient meeting buildings built by pre-historical North American Natives in Chaco Canyon NM, near the "Four Corners" and could not help but think that this place was like a Mecca for North America, but, from the architecture of the buildings, seems to have been designed around a seminar-type system for discussion rather than reconstructions of ancient anecdotes. Since there was only discussion, no one can produce historical data hence the reconstructive approach. It would have been the w:talking circle of all talking circles. --John Bessa 19:20, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Yet another def[edit]

Removed "A generic term for any culture organized into cities."

Is there any example that wouldn't already be covered by existing definitions? Why does this need to be distinguished? DAVilla 08:39, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Keep tidy.svg

The following information has failed Wiktionary's deletion process.

It should not be re-entered without careful consideration.


"Communal understanding" sense. The example given seems to apply to sense 1, and I'm having a hard time thinking of a more suitable one. -- Visviva 02:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Agree. Also senses #5 and #6 could be combined. --Hekaheka 22:28, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, I had split 5 and 6 per the anon's comment on the talk page, which I found persuasive ... one can use "civilization" to refer to sophisticated modern life, without preferring it ("I don't much care for civilization"), but one can also use "civilization" to refer to a particular society without regard to its level of sophistication ("I'm so glad to get away from the city and back to civilization"). I don't see any way to cover both of these under a single definition. -- Visviva 02:10, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Adjusted. The latter is used sarcastically to say that another group is not part of civilized society, or I guess literally if one really believes that another society does not have civilized rules. DAVilla 08:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Deleted. And I also deleted the sense of "countries" since Western civilization is not the members of NATO or the G8 summit. DAVilla 08:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Much better, thanks; that needed someone with fresh eyes. BTW, I have added another sense just now ("the quality of being civilized"), which I assume to be non-controversial. -- Visviva 09:47, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Before this change is buried it needs to be fully resolved by merging some of the translations and marking most as TTBC. 07:48, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
True... but before we do that, let's make sure we really want to erase the "stage" vs. "system" distinction. These do seem kind of distinct, though I'm not sure if/how to best separate them. -- Visviva 11:01, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Can you give examples of how you would draw the line? To me it seems to refer to both the people and the system simultaneously. DAVilla 08:46, 29 January 2009 (UTC)