1. A war between factions or regions of the same country.
2. Civil War The war in the United States between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Also called War Between the States.
3. Civil War The war in England between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists from 1642 to 1648.
4. A state of hostility or conflict between elements within an organization: "The broadcaster is in the midst of a civil war that has brought it to the brink of a complete management overhaul" (Bill Powell).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.