Definition of society in English:


Line breaks: so|ci¦ety
Pronunciation: /səˈsʌɪɪti

noun (plural societies)

  • 1 [mass noun] The 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 public, the general public, the people, the population; civilization, the world at large, humankind, mankind, humanity
  • 1.1The community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations: the ethnic diversity of British society [count noun]: 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, group, community, civilization, nation, population
  • 1.2 [with adjective] A specified section of society: 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.
    polite society, high society, the aristocracy, the gentry, the nobility, the upper classes, the elite, the privileged classes, the county set; the smart set, the fashionable, the A-list, the wealthy, the beautiful people, the crème de la crème, the beau monde, the haut monde
    British informal nobs, toffs
    informal , • dated swells
  • 1.4 [count noun] A plant or animal community: the analogy between insect society and human city is not new
    More 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.
  • 3 [mass noun] The 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'.

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