Definition of society in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈsīədē/

noun (plural societies)

1The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community: drugs, crime, and other dangers to society
More example sentences
  • The onus is on government, institutions and society to work together for a just and equitable social order.
  • An economy isn't just about money but about people and how they relate to each other and the sort of society that they build together.
  • Without a fully realised concept of personal responsibility, society cannot be ordered in a fair way.
the community, the (general) public, the people, the population;
civilization, humankind, mankind, humanity
1.1The community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations: the high incidence of violence in American society modern industrial societies
More example sentences
  • This is one of Morrison's constant themes, the importance of class as well as race and gender in American society.
  • Archer is thankful that his future wife knows and follows the manners and customs of New York society.
  • In traditional Aboriginal society, goods were shared, but in a highly structured and ritualistic way.
culture, community, civilization, nation, population
1.2 [with adjective] A specified section of a community: no one in polite society uttered the word
More example sentences
  • After all they are reflecting the ambitions of the more powerful sections of local society.
  • It is clear that this policy prejudices the poorest sections of rural society and will lead to greater inequality.
  • In the parlors of polite society, social tolerance sits side by side with multiculturalism.
1.3 (also high society) The aggregate of people who are fashionable, wealthy, and influential, regarded as forming a distinct group in a community: [as modifier]: a society wedding
More example sentences
  • Gradually courtesans became passé and geisha rose in status to become glittering and fashionable society women.
  • At the London, Merrick became a celebrity, an object of curiosity, visited by fashionable society women and royalty.
  • John photographed many society weddings and advertised by putting his work in a glass showcase outside the studio.
high society, polite society, the upper classes, the elite, the smart set, the beautiful people, the beau monde, the haut monde
informal the upper crust, the top drawer
1.4A plant or animal community.
Example sentences
  • Animal societies are characterized by cooperation as well as conflict.
  • Kin recognition serves as the foundation of advanced social systems in a wide variety of other animal societies.
  • Such top-down control over reproduction is a common feature of cooperative animal societies.
2An organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity: [in names]: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
More example sentences
  • Young people should get a greater say in how clubs and societies are run, and should have the option of more meaningful activities.
  • The student society's external relations officer said he is looking forward to working with the group.
  • Many met together regularly for Bible teaching, prayer and mutual spiritual help in the newly organised religious societies.
3The situation of being in the company of other people: she shunned the society of others
More example sentences
  • Women who had children born out of wedlock were shunned in Irish society while men were often be given the benefit of the doubt.
  • The mental health charity Turning Point and homeless charities were astonished by her ease with people shunned by society.
  • Ben is a genetic throwback to Neanderthal man, shunned by family and society for his stupidity and ugliness.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'companionship, friendly association with others'): from French société, from Latin societas, from socius 'companion'.

Words that rhyme with society


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: so·ci·e·ty

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