Definition of social in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsōSHəl/


1 [attributive] Relating to society or its organization: alcoholism is recognized as a major social problem a traditional Japanese social structure
More example sentences
  • We should follow his example to meet our needs and social obligations.
  • Yesterday dozens of people attended a street party in Avebury Road, specially designed to break down social barriers.
  • He was also the founder of a number of educational and social organizations.
communal, community, collective, group, general, popular, civil, public, societal
1.1Relating to rank and status in society: a recent analysis of social class in Britain her mother is a lady of the highest social standing
More example sentences
  • There is no distinction of class, wealth or social status made during the exercise, and all are treated as equal.
  • The rank and social standing of the subjects of portraiture are also expressed by conventions, which shift with time.
  • For centuries, spouse selection was subject to family status and social standing.
1.2Needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities: we are social beings as well as individuals
More example sentences
  • Children become social companions rather than problems, although your wallet needs to be guarded - more than ever.
  • As the primary unit of man's social living, the modern family has to grapple with several problems.
  • One is destined to become a vibrant community with a rich social mix and a youthful population.
1.3Relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure: Guy led a full social life
More example sentences
  • She is as sharp as a tack, but excellent company in a social setting.
  • Beverley, a cosmetics factory worker, met Whelby in 1984 at a social club in Skelmersdale.
  • He can be captivating company and, in social circles, very likeable.
recreational, leisure, entertainment, amusement
2 Zoology (Of a bird) gregarious; breeding or nesting in colonies.
Example sentences
  • Waxwings are social birds and where suitable food supplies are found, flocks of several hundred birds have been recorded here.
  • The African Jacana is another bird that has unique social and mating behaviour.
  • Endemic to the South Island, the kea is a highly intelligent, curious, social, and adaptable bird.
gregarious, interactional;
2.1(Of an insect) living together in organized communities, typically with different castes, as ants, bees, wasps, and termites do.
Example sentences
  • Common wasps are social insects and live in nests of up to around 10,000 workers.
  • Various models have been presented to account for division of labor in social insects.
  • One of the baffling things about social insects such as ants is how their co-operative behaviour has evolved.
2.2(Of a mammal) living together in groups, typically in a hierarchical system with complex communication.
Example sentences
  • This should not surprise us - it is, in some degree, a characteristic of most social mammals.
  • You know in that sense obviously we have evolved from social primates.
  • Chimps are social animals and live in groups of up to 80 where food is plentiful.


An informal social gathering, especially one organized by the members of a particular club or group: a church social
More example sentences
  • Those years are the important ones where my peers learned, at school dances, youth clubs, church socials, parties, etc. all the rules of social interaction and behaviour that passed me right by.
  • Typical chapters enjoy socials that range from informal gatherings to gala affairs.
  • The Anzac Club in Dunedin ran socials for the men in training at the Air Force base at Taieri and the army unit at Taiaroa Heads.
party, gathering, function, get-together, soirée;
celebration, reunion, jamboree
informal bash, shindig, do



Pronunciation: /ˌsōSHēˈalədē/
Example sentences
  • Experts with Gymboree said not only adults need sociality, children from newborns to five-year-olds also need an interest in social events.
  • Irish sociologists illustrate how the pub is central to Irish sociality and society, and has been closely related to everyday community life.
  • Social scientists, and anthropologists in particular, quite often make bold statements about the importance of sociality in human life.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin socialis 'allied', from socius 'friend'.

  • Latin socius ‘companion’ is the base of social and society (mid 16th century); while associate (Late Middle English) comes from closely related associare ‘to unite’. The early history of the word socialism is obscure. The word made its appearance in 1832 in France contrasted with personnalité; three or four years later the modern political sense was attributed to a use by either Leroux or Reybaud in their writings. However, the source has also been attributed to an English use in 1835 during the discussions of a society founded by Robert Owen.

Words that rhyme with social

asocial, precocial, psychosocial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: so·cial

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