Meaning of civvy in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsɪvi/

nounplural noun civvies

  • 1civviesCivilian clothes, as opposed to uniform.

    • ‘the Chief Constable came along in civvies’
    • ‘She sneaked into town on a freight train, covered her uniform with civvies, stuffed her hair into a floppy hat and donned some oversized Ray-Bans.’
    • ‘He was in civvies rather than a uniform and he didn't give me a chance to clean up, although I carry bags with me to do just that.’
    • ‘Out in the car park, live wire Menashe has put away his coloured silk racing shirt and donned his civvies.’
    • ‘Then he asked me if I was wearing my suspenders under my civvies because he was wearing his.’
    • ‘He is in civvies today - immaculate grey suit, buffed shoes, short back and sides - he wears them as if they were a uniform: pressed creases, ramrod back, purposeful handshake.’
    • ‘They have to be in the sea cadets for three months, have to be in civvies while the other are in uniform.’
    • ‘The contractor with the shaved-head said he traded his Army uniform years ago for a technician's civvies.’
    • ‘I insisted that the actors wear their street clothes, even to the extent of ordering several who arrived on stage in costume to change back to civvies.’
    • ‘When he's in civvies, he tap-taps down the street.’
    • ‘All were back in their civvies again after lunch for the spectacular parade of crews through the city.’
    • ‘I was watching the class when one of the instructors came over and invited me to join in, even though I was in civvies.’
    • ‘‘For this, patrolling, including by policemen in civvies, needs to be intensified at these places,’ said Khan.’
    • ‘He's floppy-fringed, blond and pinkly handsome with slightly buck teeth; even in civvies you'd pick him out as an army officer at 500 yards in the rush hour.’
    • ‘In her civvies she looks like any other fit female - but Monica, 35, is the British powerlifting champion in her class and is awesomely strong.’
    • ‘As Christmas rolls around again, it is not just department store Santas who are pulling on the false beards and changing out of their civvies.’
    • ‘An ordinary citizen at Scarborough on his annual Territorial Army camp was turned away from the Spa although he was with two friends in their civvies.’
    • ‘But you wouldn't bet against him turning up there in civvies in future, management being an ambition still left to fulfil.’
    • ‘For their sakes, given how badly they are outgunned, one hopes they will have the sense to throw down their weapons, change into civvies, and go home.’
    • ‘We went up to the landing and there passing down by the end of the garden was a party of about 10 men in civvies, carrying rifles heading for the Pontoon Road.’
    • ‘She is now back in civvies and one doubts she is pining for her days in the blue uniform.’
    1. 1.1British A civilian, as distinct from a member of the police force or armed services.
      ‘I'm a civvy, but I work closely with the military’
      • ‘After phoning about it a smug civvy took great delight in telling me that it was being fixed and not to bother them until next week… before promptly hanging up.’
      • ‘You're ordering a pizza when you think a civvy has pushed in front of you.’
      • ‘Why should we have to suffer the failings of civvies in the armed forces?’
      • ‘Pete never settled after coming out of the RAF and could not accept the way civvies lived.’
      • ‘The sixteen civvies with the highest individual score will arrange themselves into four-person teams and play each other for the rights to compete at E3.’
      • ‘Turning civvies into sailors is one of HMS Raleigh's most important roles.’
      • ‘But three knew that they would have packed as many civvies on board to reduce losses on the colony.’
      • ‘First, a light recon group would have to evacuate any civvies in the area.’
      • ‘One soldier complains to his fellow soldiers after the fact, ‘I saw you shooting civvies!’’
      • ‘Some of these civvies would be armed with 357s and other weapons.’
      • ‘Another soldier from your unit, Pte Smith, is drinking with his mates including some civvies you do not recognise.’
      • ‘We're all pulling back as soon as the civvies are all evacuated.’
      non-military person, non-combatant, ordinary citizen, private citizen


informal attributive
  • Relating to civilians.

    • ‘fliers who left the services for civvy airlines’
    • ‘Some wore civilian jackets and khaki trousers, others civvy trousers and khaki uniform jackets.’
    • ‘He is sitting in a lounge at Celtic Park in civvy clothes.’
    • ‘The officers and NCOs among the exodus are generally snapped up by civvy employers, such is the regard for their qualities.’
    • ‘He was in civvy attire and coaching from the sideline.’
    • ‘Besides, these Kirkland galleons are pretty tough for civvy ships.’
    • ‘I was a civvy nurse before, so I've seen a lot of injuries, but it was more the look on their faces that will always stay in my mind.’
    non-military, non-combatant, civil


    Civvy Street
    British informal
    • Civilian life.

      • ‘ex-service people starting life on Civvy Street’
      • ‘His two younger brothers, Steven and John, were also once in the army, but both are now back on Civvy Street working as welders.’
      • ‘Called up at the end of the war in 1945 he served with the Eighth Army as part of the occupation troops in Austria and Italy before returning to Civvy Street and buying his first shop in 1952.’
      • ‘On Civvy Street, Nicola is a registered nurse and feels that the TA has helped to develop her leadership and teamwork skills while improving her fitness.’
      • ‘When you are in the forces you get the back-up but on Civvy Street you don't have that support.’
      • ‘On his return to Civvy Street he went back to bricklaying.’


Late 19th century abbreviation.