Definition of social contract in English:

social contract

Line breaks: so¦cial con|tract
(also social compact)


  • An implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection. Theories of a social contract became popular in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries among theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as a means of explaining the origin of government and the obligations of subjects.
    More example sentences
    • The rights we have are there by accord and by some kind of social contract - a social contract that is also to an extent built upon biology.
    • As is true in society, an implicit social contract serves as the basis for maintaining order in schools.
    • The social compact underpinning any society is that citizens are not permitted to kill or maim their fellows.

More definitions of social contract

Definition of social contract in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrə(ʊ)ˈgeɪʃ(ə)n
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space