Civil Engineering terms and their simple meaning


Civil Engineering terms and their meaning


Engineering is a very wide profession. It cuts across electrical engineering, petroleum engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, among others.

According to Wikipedia, Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways.

Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is considered the second-oldest engineering discipline.


Alignment is the marking of points in a straight line for a road, rail or bridge.

Apron – This is an expansion or extension of a culvert.

Arch – This is a temporary construction of blocks made to support a load especially to prevent it from falling.


Ballast – a mixture of stone or gravel in irregular unscrewed sizes that may also contain smaller material.

Balcony – a structure that someone can stand on. It is usually attached to the outside wall of a building, above ground level.

Bank – a heap of soil that is above the digging level.

Bar – a metal used to block access.

Beam – a long piece of wood used in construction. It is usually used to hold the concrete together.

Bend – a point where there is a change in shape either on a road or in a plan.

Binder – are materials used to join things together. Like cement, tar, plaster, etc.

Bridge – a structure built over a river or road that allows pedestrians or vehicles to cross from one side to the another.

Buckle – a bend that occurs as a result of heat pressure.

Bye pass – a road that is constructed to go through another road.


Cable – a very thick rope made of thick wire. The wire is made of steel that is twisted. It is used in supporting a bridge.

Cement – a building material that contains limestone and clay in powder form.

Cement mortar – a piece of equipment that is used in mixing cement.

Cement paste – a mixture of cement with water.

Channel – a temporary passage for water to pass through.

Cistern – a temporary place used for storing liquid.

Civil engineer – a person trained to plan, build and repair roads, bridges and large buildings.

Compressor – a machine that compresses gas or air.

Concrete – a mixture of gravel and cement.

Concrete mixer – another name for cement mixer

Contractor – a person or company that are in charge of a building project.


Dam – a wall-like construction that controls the inflow of water especially for the production of electricity.

Deck – the out part of a ship

Drilling machine – a machine that is used in making holes.


Excavator – a piece of digging equipment that helps to remove something that has been fixed to the soil.


Force – another name for pressure


Gloves – a cloth, rubber, leather usually worn on the hand to keep it warm

Gravel – small stones that are used in building.


Hard wood – a wood that has large leaves.

Head pan – a piece of equipment used in carrying sand, gravel and cement.


Load – the weight of an object or large amount of something carried by a vehicle.

Lubricator – a liquid that is used in order to reduce friction.


Mud – mixture clay soil with water


Pressure – the adding of extra energy on an object.

Pump – a machine that forces water or any other liquid.


Rail – two metal rods that are fixed to the ground. They assist people in walking down a staircase.

Reservoir – a temporary place for storing water.

Resilience – the capability of building material to return to its normal shape and size.

Rigid – when a material resists changing in shape.


Sand is the broken and tiny pieces of rock.

Spade – an instrument used in digging the soil.

Steel- a very strong metal.

Suspension bridge – a bridge that is supported with cables.


Tanker – a large container that carries a large amount of gas and liquids especially oil and water.

Tractor – a piece of equipment that is used in a site to pull down things.

Trailer -a piece of equipment that transports light equipment, sand, gravel and cement to a site.

Toughness – is the state in which a metal is hard.

Tower – a very tall building.

Igbaji Ugabi Chinwendu, a native of Ogoja in Cross River State, Nigeria, is a married individual blessed with children. As a Business Educator, he is profoundly interested in teaching and disseminating information. He holds the esteemed positions of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director at Freemanbiz Communication and Writers King LTD, demonstrating his leadership and expertise in the field.

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