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Borrowed from Latin cīvitās (city; state, city-state). Doublet of city.


  • IPA(key): /ˈki.wɪˌtɑs/, /ˈtʃiviˌtɑs/


civitas (plural civitates)

  1. (Roman history) The social body of the citizens united by law
  2. (Roman history) A city and its territory
  3. (pedantic) A community.
  4. (pedantic) A state, (chiefly) a city-state.





From earlier ceivitās, from Proto-Italic *keiwitāts. Equivalent to cīvis (citizen) +‎ -tās.

Alternative forms[edit]



cīvitās f (genitive cīvitātis); third declension

  1. (Classical Latin) citizenship and its rights; often referring to Roman citizenship
  2. (Classical Latin) the state, body politic, citizens of a territory (collectively)
  3. (Classical Latin, metonymically) a city and all external territory (thus distinguished from urbs)
  4. (Classical Latin, metonymically) city-states, kingdoms, or tribes, especially under Roman rule.
  5. (Medieval Latin) a city: a major, biblical, or specially incorporated town, particularly cathedral cities
    • His diebus Langobardi Italia invaserunt, Vincentiam Veronamque et reliquas Venetiarum civitates coepit, et per tres annos Ticino possedit.
      In those days that the Lombards invaded Italy, he began Vincentia & Verona and the rest of the Venetian cities, and possessed Ticino for three years.
  6. (Medieval Latin) a borough: a walled settlement, sometimes particularly former Roman towns
  7. (Ecclesiastical Latin) either the Church or Heaven


Third-declension noun (i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative cīvitās cīvitātēs
Genitive cīvitātis cīvitātum
Dative cīvitātī cīvitātibus
Accusative cīvitātem cīvitātēs
Ablative cīvitāte cīvitātibus
Vocative cīvitās cīvitātēs

The genitive plural in -um is the etymologically expected one as well as the more frequent.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • civitas”, in Charlton T[homas] Lewis; Charles [Lancaster] Short (1879) [] A New Latin Dictionary [], New York, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.: American Book Company; Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • civitas”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • civitas in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • civitas in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • Plato's ideal republic: civitas optima, perfecta Platonis
    • Plato's ideal republic: illa civitas Platonis commenticia
    • Plato's ideal republic: illa civitas, quam Plato finxit
    • universal history: omnis memoria, omnis memoria aetatum, temporum, civitatum or omnium rerum, gentium, temporum, saeculorum memoria
    • the constitution: descriptio civitatis
    • to give the state a constitution: civitati leges, iudicia, iura describere
    • to be the chief man in the state: principem civitatis esse
    • the head of the state: rector civitatis (De Or. 1. 48. 211)
    • to make a man a citizen: civitate donare aliquem (Balb. 3. 7)
    • to enroll as a citizen, burgess: in civitatem recipere, ascribere, asciscere aliquem
    • to present a person with the freedom of the city: civitatem alicui dare, tribuere, impertire
    • to naturalise oneself as a citizen of another country: civitatem mutare (Balb. 11. 27)
    • the dregs of the people: faex populi, plebis, civitatis
    • aristocracy (as a form of government): civitas, quae optimatium arbitrio regitur
    • democracy: imperium populi or populare, civitas or res publica popularis
    • to banish a person, send him into exile: ex urbe (civitate) expellere, pellere aliquem
    • to banish a person, send him into exile: de, e civitate aliquem eicere
    • to expel a person from the city, country: exterminare (ex) urbe, de civitate aliquem (Mil. 37. 101)
    • to keep the citizens in servile subjection: civitatem servitute oppressam tenere (Dom. 51. 131)
    • to extort money from the communities: pecuniam cogere a civitatibus
    • to compel communities to provide troops: imperare milites civitatibus
    • to compel communities to provide hostages: obsides civitatibus imperare
  • civitas”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • civitas”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin