One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A society of the Church of England and the Church in Wales founded in 1811, originally committed to providing education for the poor and subsequently working more widely to promote Christian values and religious education in schools.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in The Times. From national + society, after the fuller form National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales.
National Society/ˌnaʃ(ə)n(ə)l səˈsʌɪəti//ˌnaʃən(ə)l səˈsʌɪəti/
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