circumstances (n.) Look up circumstances at Dictionary.com
"condition of life, material welfare" (usually with a qualifying adjective), 1704, from circumstance.
circumstantial (adj.) Look up circumstantial at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Latin circumstantia (see circumstance) + -al (1). Related: Circumstantially. Circumstantial evidence is attested by 1691.
circumstantiate (v.) Look up circumstantiate at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition" (see circumstance) + -ate (2). Related: Circumstantiated; circumstantiating; circumstantiation.
circumvent (v.) Look up circumvent at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to surround by hostile stratagem," from Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire "to get around, be around, encircle, surround," in figurative sense "to oppress, assail, cheat," from circum "around" (see circum-) + venire "to come," from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- "to go, come." Meaning "to go round" is from 1840. Related: Circumvented; circumventing.
circumvention (n.) Look up circumvention at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin circumventionem (nominative circumventio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumvenire "to get around" (see circumvent).
circumvolution (n.) Look up circumvolution at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., noun of action from past participle stem of Latin circumvolvere "to revolve through, to roll around" (see circumvolve).
circumvolve (v.) Look up circumvolve at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Latin circumvolvere "to roll round, revolve," from circum "around, round about" (see circum-) + volvere "to turn around, roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Related: Circumvolved; circumvolving.
circus (n.) Look up circus at Dictionary.com
late 14c., in reference to ancient Rome, from Latin circus "ring, circular line," which was applied by Romans to circular arenas for performances and contests and oval courses for racing (especially the Circus Maximus), from or cognate with Greek kirkos "a circle, a ring," perhaps from PIE *kikro-, reduplicated form of root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend."

In reference to modern large arenas for performances from 1791; sense then extended to the performing company, hence "traveling show" (originally traveling circus, 1838). Extended in World War I to squadrons of military aircraft. Meaning "lively uproar, chaotic hubbub" is from 1869. Sense in Picadilly Circus and other place names is from early 18c. sense "buildings arranged in a ring," also "circular road." The adjective form is circensian.
cire (adj.) Look up cire at Dictionary.com
1921, from French ciré, literally "waxed" (12c.), from Latin cera "wax" (see cere (n.)). Often short for ciré silk.
cirque (n.) Look up cirque at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "a circus," from French cirque (14c.), from Latin circus (see circus). Compare Italian and Spanish circo.
cirrhosis (n.) Look up cirrhosis at Dictionary.com
1827, coined in Modern Latin by French physician René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec (1781-1826) with -osis and Greek kirrhos "tawny," which is of unknown origin. So called for the orange-yellow appearance of the diseased liver. Related: Cirrhotic.
cirro- Look up cirro- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "involving cirrus clouds," from comb. form of Latin cirrus (see cirrus).
cirrocumulus (n.) Look up cirrocumulus at Dictionary.com
1803, from cirrus + cumulus.
cirrous (adj.) Look up cirrous at Dictionary.com
1650s in biology; 1815 in meteorology, from Latin cirrus (see cirrus) + -ous.
cirrus (n.) Look up cirrus at Dictionary.com
1708, "curl-like fringe or tuft," from Latin cirrus "a lock of hair, tendril, curl, ringlet of hair; the fringe of a garment." In meteorology, cirrus clouds attested from 1803. So called from fancied resemblance of shape.
cis- Look up cis- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "on the near side of, on this side," from Latin preposition cis "on this side" (in reference to place or time), related to citra (adv.) "on this side," from PIE *ki-s, from root *ko- "this" (source also of Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis, Hittite ki "this," Old English hider, Gothic hidre "hither;" see he). Opposed to trans- or ultra-. Originally only of place, sometimes 19c. of time; 21c. of life situations (such as cis-gender, by 2011).
cisalpine (adj.) Look up cisalpine at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Latin cisalpinus "on this side of the Alps" (from the Roman point of view), from cis- (see cis-) + Alpinus "Alpine" (see Alpine). Compare ultramontane.
ciseaux (n.) Look up ciseaux at Dictionary.com
1892 in dance, French (plural), literally "scissors" (see scissors).
cismontane (adj.) Look up cismontane at Dictionary.com
from Latin cis- "on this side of" (see cis-) + stem of mons (see mount (n.1)).
cissy (n.) Look up cissy at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English variant of sissy (q.v.).
cist (n.) Look up cist at Dictionary.com
"sepulchral chest or chamber," 1804, in some cases from Latin cista "wickerwork basket, box," from Greek kiste "box, chest" (see chest); according to OED, in some cases from Welsh cist in cist faen "stone coffin," the first element of which is from the Latin word.
Cistercian (adj.) Look up Cistercian at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "pertaining to the Cistercian order of monks," with -an + Medieval Latin Cistercium (French Cîteaux), site of an abbey near Dijon, where the monastic order was founded 1098 by Robert of Molesme. As a noun, "monk of the Cistercian order," from 1610s.
cistern (n.) Look up cistern at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., from Old French cisterne "cistern; dungeon, underground prison" (12c., Modern French citerne), from Latin cisterna "underground reservoir for water," from cista "chest, box," from Greek kiste "box, chest" (see chest).
cit (n.) Look up cit at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of citizen, 1640s; contrasted to a countryman or a gentleman, usually with some measure of opprobrium (Johnson defines it as "A pert low townsman; a pragmatical trader").
citadel (n.) Look up citadel at Dictionary.com
1580s, "fortress commanding a city," from Middle French citadelle (15c.), from Italian cittadella, diminutive of Old Italian cittade "city" (Modern Italian citta), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas; also source of Portuguese citadella, Spanish ciuadela; see city).
citation (n.) Look up citation at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "summons, written notice to appear," from Old French citation or directly from Latin citationem (nominative citatio) "a command," noun of action from past participle stem of citare "to summon, urge, call; put in sudden motion, call forward; rouse, excite" (see cite). Meaning "passage cited, quotation" is from 1540s. From 1918 as "a mention in an official dispatch."
cite (v.) Look up cite at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to summon," from Old French citer "to summon" (14c.), from Latin citare "to summon, urge, call; put in sudden motion, call forward; rouse, excite," frequentative of ciere "to move, set in motion, stir, rouse, call, invite" from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion, to move to and fro" (source also of Sanskrit cyavate "stirs himself, goes;" Greek kinein "to move, set in motion; change, stir up," kinymai "move myself;" Gothic haitan "call, be called;" Old English hatan "command, call"). Sense of "calling forth a passage of writing" is first attested 1530s. Related: Cited; citing.
citified (adj.) Look up citified at Dictionary.com
1819, American English, from city + past participle ending from words in -fy.
citify (v.) Look up citify at Dictionary.com
1865, probably a back formation from citified. Related: Citifying.
citizen (n.) Look up citizen at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "inhabitant of a city," from Anglo-French citezein (spelling subsequently altered, probably by influence of denizen), from Old French citeien "city-dweller, town-dweller, citizen" (12c., Modern French citoyen), from cite (see city) + -ain (see -ian). Replaced Old English burhsittend and ceasterware. Sense of "inhabitant of a country" is late 14c. Citizen's arrest recorded from 1941; citizen's band (radio) from 1947. Citizen of the world (late 15c.) translates Greek kosmopolites.
He is not a citizen who is not disposed to respect the laws and to obey the civil magistrate; and he is certainly not a good citizen who does not wish to promote, by every means in his power, the welfare of the whole society of his fellow-citizens. [Adam Smith, "Theory of Moral Sentiments"]
citizenry (n.) Look up citizenry at Dictionary.com
"citizens collectively," 1795, from citizen + -ry.
citizenship (n.) Look up citizenship at Dictionary.com
"status, rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a citizen," 1610s, from citizen + -ship.
citric (adj.) Look up citric at Dictionary.com
1800, from Modern Latin citricum (in acidum citricum "citric acid," discovered by Scheele in 1784; see citrus + -ic. The classical adjective was citreus.
citrine (adj.) Look up citrine at Dictionary.com
lemon-colored, late 14c., from French citrin, from Latin citrus (see citrus). From 1879 as a color name.
citron (n.) Look up citron at Dictionary.com
late 14c., also citrine (early 15c.), from Old French citron "citron, lemon" (14c.), possibly from Old Provençal citron, from Latin citrus and influenced by lemon; or else from augmentative of Latin *citrum, related to citrus "citron tree," citreum (malum) "citron" (see citrus). Apparently the only citrus fruit known to the Greeks and Romans.
citronella (n.) Look up citronella at Dictionary.com
1858 in reference to a type of fragrant grass, and especially to the oil it yields, from French citronelle "lemon liquor," from citron (see citrus). Originally an Asiatic grass used in perfumes, later applied to a substance found in lemon oil, etc.
citrus (adj.) Look up citrus at Dictionary.com
1825, from Modern Latin genus name, from Latin citrus "citron tree," name of an African tree with aromatic wood and lemon-like fruit, the first citrus fruit to become available in the West. The name, like the tree, is probably of Asiatic origin [OED]. But Klein traces it to Greek kedros "cedar," and writes that the change of -dr- to -tr- shows that the word came from Greek into Latin through the medium of the Etruscans. As a noun, "tree of the genus Citrus," from 1885.
city (n.) Look up city at Dictionary.com
early 13c., in medieval usage a cathedral town, but originally "any settlement," regardless of size (distinction from town is 14c., though in English it always seems to have ranked above borough), from Old French cite "town, city" (10c., Modern French cité), from earlier citet, from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas; in Late Latin sometimes citatem) originally "citizenship, condition or rights of a citizen, membership in the community," later "community of citizens, state, commonwealth" (used, for instance of the Gaulish tribes), from civis "townsman," from PIE root *kei- (1) "to lie," also forming words for "bed, couch," and with a secondary sense of "beloved, dear."

The sense has been transferred from the inhabitants to the place. The Latin word for "city" was urbs, but a resident was civis. Civitas seems to have replaced urbs as Rome (the ultimate urbs) lost its prestige. Loss of Latin -v- is regular in French in some situations (compare alleger from alleviare; neige from nivea; jeune from juvenis. A different sound evolution from the Latin word yielded Italian citta, Catalan ciutat, Spanish ciudad, Portuguese cidade.

Replaced Old English burh (see borough). London is the city from 1550s. As an adjective from c. 1300. City hall first recorded 1670s to fight city hall is 1913, American English; city slicker first recorded 1916 (see slick); both American English. City limits is from 1825. The newspaper city desk attested from 1878. Inner city first attested 1968. City state (also city-state) is attested from 1877.
civet (n.) Look up civet at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Middle French civette (15c.), ultimately (with Italian zibetto, Medieval Latin zibethum, Medieval Greek zapetion) via lost intermediate forms from Arabic zabad "civet," said to be related to zabad "foam, froth," zubd "cream."
civic (adj.) Look up civic at Dictionary.com
1540s, originally mostly in civic crown (Latin corona civica), a chaplet of oak leaves awarded to one who saved the life of a fellow citizen in battle, from Latin civicus "of a citizen," adjectival derivative of civis "townsman" (see city). Sense of "having to do with citizens" is from 1790.
civics (n.) Look up civics at Dictionary.com
"study of the rights and responsibilities of a citizen," 1886, originally American English, from civic, by analogy with politics (see -ics).
civil (adj.) Look up civil at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "relating to civil law or life; pertaining to the internal affairs of a state," from Old French civil "civil, relating to civil law" (13c.) and directly from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen," hence by extension "popular, affable, courteous;" alternative adjectival derivative of civis "townsman" (see city).

The sense of "polite" was in classical Latin, from the courteous manners of citizens, as opposed to those of soldiers. But English did not pick up this nuance of the word until late 16c. "Courteous is thus more commonly said of superiors, civil of inferiors, since it implies or suggests the possibility of incivility or rudeness" [OED]. Civil case (as opposed to criminal) is recorded from 1610s. Civil liberty is by 1640s.
civil disobedience (n.) Look up civil disobedience at Dictionary.com
coined 1866 by Thoreau as title of an essay originally published (1849) as "Resistance to Civil Government."
civil rights (n.) Look up civil rights at Dictionary.com
1721, American English; specifically of black U.S. citizens from 1866.
civil service (n.) Look up civil service at Dictionary.com
1765, originally in reference to non-military staff of the East India Company. Civil servant is from 1792.
civil union (n.) Look up civil union at Dictionary.com
by 2000, the usual U.S. term for legally recognized same-sex unions short of marriage.
civil war (n.) Look up civil war at Dictionary.com
"battles among fellow citizens or within a community," from civil in a sense of "occurring among fellow citizens" attested from late 14c. in batayle ciuile "civil battle," etc. The exact phrase civil war is attested from late 15c. (the Latin phrase was bella civicus). An Old English word for it was ingewinn. Ancient Greek had polemos epidemios.

Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Later, in England, to the struggle between Parliament and Charles I (1641-1651); in U.S., to the War of Secession (1861-1865), an application often decried as wholly inaccurate but in use (among other names) in the North during the war and boosted by the use of the term in the popular "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" series published 1884-87 in "Century Magazine."
"The war between the States," which a good many Southerners prefer, is both bookish and inexact. "Civil war" is an utter misnomer. It was used and is still used by courteous people, the same people who are careful to say "Federal" and "Confederate." "War of the rebellion," which begs the very question at issue, has become the official designation of the struggle, but has found no acceptance with the vanquished. To this day no Southerner uses it except by way of quotation .... "The war of secession" is still used a good deal in foreign books, but it has no popular hold. "The war," without any further qualification, served the turn of Thucydides and Aristophanes for the Peloponnesian war. It will serve ours, let it be hoped, for some time to come. [Basil L. Gildersleeve, "The Creed of the Old South," 1915]
civilian (n.) Look up civilian at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "judge or authority on civil law," from Old French civilien "of the civil law," created from Latin civilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous," alternative adjectival derivative of civis "townsman" (see city). Sense of "non-military person" is attested by 1819 (earlier in this sense was civilian, attested from c. 1600 as "non-soldier"). The adjective is from 1640s.
civilisation (n.) Look up civilisation at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of civilization. Also see -ize.
civility (n.) Look up civility at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "status of a citizen," from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas) "the art of governing; courteousness," from cvilis "relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen; popular, affable, courteous" (see civil). Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).