polite act or expression

Civility signifies orderly behavior and politeness. Historically, civility also meant training in the humanities.

Quotes edit

  • Fortunately for you, we British judge man’s civility not by his compassion for his friends, but by his compassion for his enemies.
  • In one aspect civilization is the habit of civility; and civility is the refinement which townsmen, who made the word, thought possible only in the civitas or city.
  • Disobedience without civility, discipline, discrimination, non-violence, is certain destruction. Disobedience combined with love is the living water of life. Civil disobedience is a beautiful variant to signify growth, it is not discordance which spells death.
  • Straightforwardness without civility is like a surgeon's knife, effective but unpleasant. Candor with courtesy is helpful and admirable.
  • A winning wave, deserving note,
    In the tempestuous petticoat:
    A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
    I see a wild civility:
    Do more bewitch me than when art
    Is too precise in every part.
  • There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
    • Gordon B. Hinckley, First talk as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 3,1995.
  • I hold to the idea that civility, understood as the willingness to engage in public discourse, is the first virtue of citizens.
  • The Indians, whom we call barbarous, observe much more decency and civility in their discourses and conversation, giving one another a fair silent hearing till they have quite done; and then answering them calmly, and without noise or passion. And if it be not so in this civiliz'd part of the world, we must impute it to a neglect in education, which has not yet reform'd this antient piece of barbarity amongst us.
  • The demand for more civility in politics today should be directed toward improving the quality of our insults, seeking civility in wit rather than blandness.
  • A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far." If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power … So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Minnesota State Fair, as it appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune (3 September 1901)
  • Theoretical liberties, however, we are too often assured at the expense of actual civilities, and as civilities were lost, litigation emerged as a way of life with a consequent reduction in real liberties for all persons except lawyers, who, like mercenaries, are profiteers of discord. Persons were actually allowed, by law, under the guise of free expression, to shout into the faces of those who held differing opinions and to intrude upon their privacy. Liberty has two legs. Vigilance is certainly one, but civility is as certainly the other.

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