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a civil question deserves a civil answer
proverb 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.
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.
Kind and polite speech. I don't want any outbursts between you and your sister during this dinner, so please keep a civil tongue, understood? I know that this is a heated topic, but I would ask that all participants in the debate please use a civil tongue.
keep a civil tongue
To speak kindly and politely; to refrain from using harsh, insolent, or rude language. I don't want any outbursts between you and your sister during this dinner, so please keep a civil tongue, understood? I know that this is a heated topic, but I would ask that all participants in the debate please keep a civil tongue.
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?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
keep a civil tongue in your headspeak politely and calmly, without rudeness.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. a civil servant. You have no idea the kinds of things “civil serpents” have to put up with.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.