Let's Compare Civilization and Culture


Civilization (or civilisation) is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways.

civilization n 1: a society in an advanced state of social development (e.g., with complex legal and political and religious organizations); "the people slowly progressed from barbarism to civilization" [syn: {civilisation}] 2: the social process whereby societies achieve civilization [syn: {civilisation}] 3: a particular society at a particular time and place; "early Mayan civilization" [syn: {culture}, {civilisation}] 4: the quality of excellence in thought and manners and taste; "a man of intellectual refinement"; "he is remembered for his generosity and civilization" [syn: {refinement}, {civilisation}]

29 Moby Thesaurus words for "civilization": acculturation, civility, complex, cultivation, cultural drift, culture, culture area, culture center, culture complex, culture conflict, culture contact, culture pattern, culture trait, customs, edification, education, enculturation, enlightenment, ethos, folkways, key trait, mores, polish, refinement, socialization, society, sophistication, trait, trait-complex

Civilization \Civ`i*li*za"tion\, n. [Cf. F. civilisation.] 1. The act of civilizing, or the state of being civilized; national culture; refinement. [1913 Webster] Our manners, our civilization, and all the good things connected with manners, and with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles -- . . . the spirit of a gentleman, and spirit of religion. --Burke [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) Rendering a criminal process civil. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]


Culture (, lit. "cultivation") is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator, Cicero: "cultura animi".

culture n 1: a particular society at a particular time and place; "early Mayan civilization" [syn: {civilization}, {civilisation}] 2: the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group 3: all the knowledge and values shared by a society [syn: {acculturation}] 4: (biology) the growing of microorganisms in a nutrient medium (such as gelatin or agar); "the culture of cells in a Petri dish" 5: (bacteriology) the product of cultivating micro-organisms in a nutrient medium 6: a highly developed state of perfection; having a flawless or impeccable quality; "they performed with great polish"; "I admired the exquisite refinement of his prose"; "almost an inspiration which gives to all work that finish which is almost art"--Joseph Conrad [syn: {polish}, {refinement}, {cultivation}, {finish}] 7: the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization; "the developing drug culture"; "the reason that the agency is doomed to inaction has something to do with the FBI culture" 8: the raising of plants or animals; "the culture of oysters"

192 Moby Thesaurus words for "culture": Acheulean, Aurignacian, Azilian, Chellean, Eolithic, Neolithic, Paleolithic, Pre-Chellean, Solutrean, acculturation, acquired taste, agrarianism, agricultural geology, agriculture, agrology, agronomics, agronomy, appreciation of excellence, background, backset, bibliolatry, bibliomania, bluestockingism, book learning, book madness, bookiness, bookishness, booklore, breed, breeding, cation, choiceness, civility, civilization, civilized taste, civilizedness, class, classical scholarship, classicism, community, complex, contour farming, contour plowing, cultivate, cultivated taste, cultivating, cultivation, cultural drift, culture area, culture center, culture complex, culture conflict, culture contact, culture pattern, culture trait, customs, cut, daintiness, delicacy, delve, dig, dirt farming, discernment, discrimination, donnishness, dress, dressing, dry farming, dryland farming, education, elegance, enculturation, enlightenment, eruditeness, erudition, ethnic group, ethos, excellence, fallow, fallowing, farm, farm economy, farming, fastidiousness, fatten, feed, fertilize, finesse, folkways, force, fruit farming, furrowing, genteelness, gentility, gentlemanlikeness, gentlemanliness, gentleness, geoponics, good breeding, good taste, grace, gracefulness, gracility, graciosity, graciousness, grain farming, grow, harrow, harrowing, hatch, hoe, hoeing, humanism, humanistic scholarship, husbandry, hydroponics, intellectualism, intellectuality, intensive farming, keep, key trait, ladylikeness, learnedness, learning, letters, list, listing, literacy, mixed farming, mores, mulch, nation, nationality, niceness, nicety, nurture, pedantism, pedantry, people, plow, plowing, polish, prune, pruning, quality, race, raise, rake, ranch, reading, rear, refinement, run, rural economy, savoir faire, savoir-faire, scholarship, sharecropping, socialization, society, sophist, sophistication, spade, speech community, stock, strain, strip farming, suavity, subsistence farming, subtlety, tank farming, taste, tastefulness, thin, thin out, thinning, thremmatology, till, till the soil, tillage, tilling, tilth, trait, trait-complex, truck farming, urbanity, way of life, weed, weed out, weeding, work, working

Culture \Cul"ture\ (k?l"t?r; 135), n. [F. culture, L. cultura, fr. colere to till, cultivate; of uncertain origin. Cf. {Colony}.] 1. The act or practice of cultivating, or of preparing the earth for seed and raising crops by tillage; as, the culture of the soil. [1913 Webster] 2. The act of, or any labor or means employed for, training, disciplining, or refining the moral and intellectual nature of man; as, the culture of the mind. [1913 Webster] If vain our toil We ought to blame the culture, not the soil. --Pepe. [1913 Webster] 3. The state of being cultivated; result of cultivation; physical improvement; enlightenment and discipline acquired by mental and moral training; civilization; refinement in manners and taste. [1913 Webster] What the Greeks expressed by their paidei`a, the Romans by their humanitas, we less happily try to express by the more artificial word culture. --J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster] The list of all the items of the general life of a people represents that whole which we call its culture. --Tylor. [1913 Webster] 4. (Biol.) (a) The cultivation of bacteria or other organisms (such as fungi or eukaryotic cells from mulitcellular organisms) in artificial media or under artificial conditions. (b) The collection of organisms resulting from such a cultivation. Note: The growth of cells obtained from multicellular animals or plants in artificial media is called {tissue culture}. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC] Note: The word is used adjectively with the above senses in many phrases, such as: culture medium, any one of the various mixtures of gelatin, meat extracts, etc., in which organisms cultivated; culture flask, culture oven, culture tube, gelatin culture, plate culture, etc. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 5. (Cartography) Those details of a map, collectively, which do not represent natural features of the area delineated, as names and the symbols for towns, roads, houses, bridges, meridians, and parallels. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] {Culture fluid}, {Culture medium} a fluid in which microscopic organisms are made to develop, either for purposes of study or as a means of modifying their virulence. If the fluid is gelled by, for example, the use of agar, it then is called, depending on the vessel in which the gelled medium is contained, a plate, a slant, or a stab. [1913 Webster +PJC]

Culture \Cul"ture\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Cultured} (-t?rd; 135); p. pr. & vb. n. {Culturing}.] To cultivate; to educate. [1913 Webster] They came . . . into places well inhabited and cultured. --Usher. [1913 Webster]

Data Sources:

  • civilization: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • civilization: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • civilization: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • culture: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • culture: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • culture: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • culture: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44

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