Definition of society in English:

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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.
2An organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity: [in names]: the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
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.
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'.

Words that rhyme with society


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: so|ci¦ety

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