civil war

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Calque of Latin bellum cīvīle, in English from 1651 in reference to the English Civil War, with possible early use in the 15th and 16th centuries as wer cyuile or ciuill warre. Displaced native Old English inġewinn.


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civil war (plural civil wars)

  1. A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or a similar political entity.
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect, Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, PC, scene: Turians: The Unification War Codex entry:
      At about the time the salarians and asari were forming the Council, the turians were embroiled in a bitter civil war. The Unification War, as it was later named, began with hostilities between the colonies furthest from the turian homeworld, Palaven.
    • 2015, Shane R. Reeves, David Wallace, “The Combatant Status of the “Little Green Men” and Other Participants in the Ukraine Conflict”, in International Law Studies, US Naval War College[1], volume 91, number 361, Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, page 393:
      The “little green men”—faces covered, wearing unmarked olive uniforms, speaking Russian and using Russian weapons—have played a significant role in both the occupation of Crimea and the civil war in eastern Ukraine.196
    • 2022 September 6, Arwa Mahdawi, “No doomsday bunker, not a single gun – if the US really is heading for civil war, I’m stuffed”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Civil war is now casually discussed on cable TV shows in between ads for haemorrhoid creams and car insurance.



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