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Related to civil: Civil services

a civil question deserves a civil answer

If someone asks a reasonable question, then it warrants an answer. Often used as a reprimand. Why won't you answer me, Alice? A civil question deserves a civil answer! All Jim did was ask about your day. Come on, a civil question deserves a civil answer.

keep a civil tongue in (one's) head

To speak kindly and politely. Please try to keep a civil tongue in your head the next time you talk to Mary, instead of arguing with her, OK?
See also: civil, head, keep, tongue

civil serpent

An unhelpful or otherwise disagreeable bureaucrat. A humorous play on the phrase "civil servant"; serpents are typically depicted as evil or villainous. I can't deal with any more civil serpents—they just keep sending me from office to office.
See also: civil, serpent

keep a civil tongue (in one's head)

Fig. to speak decently and politely. Please, John. Don't talk like that. Keep a civil tongue in your head. John seems unable to keep a civil tongue.
See also: civil, keep, tongue

keep a civil tongue in one's head

Speak politely, as in The teacher won't allow swearing; she says we must keep a civil tongue in our heads. This expression uses tongue in the sense of "a manner of speaking," a usage dating from the 1400s. An early cautionary version was "Keep a good tongue in your head, lest it hurt your teeth" (1595).
See also: civil, head, keep, tongue

keep a civil tongue in your head

speak politely and calmly, without rudeness.
See also: civil, head, keep, tongue

civil serpent

n. a civil servant. You have no idea the kinds of things “civil serpents” have to put up with.
See also: civil, serpent
References in periodicals archive ?
An active civil society and through it an informed citizenry play a critical role in sound, sustainable and effective public policies.
Fareeha Sanobar has been transferred from Tando Mohammad Khan to Karachi (South) on promotion as Senior Civil Judge against the post lying vacant.
as Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate Tank, Saqib Khan, Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate Mardan has been transferred and posted
Earlier, the Director General, Civil Defence, Home Guards and Fires Services Shri RR Verma sought better remuneration and an insurance scheme for the Civil Defence volunteers besides morale boosting incentives to go along with the ceremonial medals awarded to meritorious volunteers.
Despite the increasing popularity of civil marriages enacted abroad, this approach has limitations.
The development of the concept over centuries reveals that there is little common in various definitions and understandings of the concept of civil society.
The majority of government services, even in New York, and even in the face of this organized movement to expand civil rights, are still provided only in English.
Division is evident in a few titles, particularly Invisible Southerners: Ethnicity in the Civil War by Anne J.
By contributing to the literature of the Civil War, Bennett shows that this approach still has important fruit to bear.
Same-sex marriages and civil unions intersect with some of the more fundamental questions of family life--care of children, the stability of relationships, and family resources.
The psychologically tumultuous postwar lives of Civil War combat veterans strikingly resemble the lives of Vietnam combat veterans, who have high rates of mental disorders, remarks psychiatrist Roger K.
The boycott that started four days after Parks's brave display of civil disobedience began with relatively modest goals.
Parts of that Act--both permanent provisions and those that are scheduled to sunset later this year--have become lightning rods for debate around balancing civil liberties with homeland security.
As the son of parents active in civil rights and the local NAACP chapter of his hometown of Camden, New Jersey, Gordon is both literally and figuratively a child of the civil rights movement.
The Federal Reserve Board announced on April 21, 2005, the issuance of a consent order of assessment of a civil money penalty against the Irwin Union Bank, Columbus, Indiana, a state member bank.