Definition of society in English:

society

noun

  • 1mass noun The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.

    ‘drugs, crime, and other dangers to society’
    • ‘Every violation of the law is damaging to the good order and expectations of society.’
    • ‘Cultural values and language are the social glue holding people and society together.’
    • ‘There are civil laws, which bring order to society and govern our relationships with each other.’
    • ‘The onus is on government, institutions and society to work together for a just and equitable social order.’
    • ‘As the nation has aged, the elements that bind society together have multiplied and grown strong.’
    • ‘Aristotle believed that politics, or how people lived together in society, were part of ethics.’
    • ‘I think that our society is held together by respect for these public voicings of commitment.’
    • ‘Without a fully realised concept of personal responsibility, society cannot be ordered in a fair way.’
    • ‘Humans must have laws and must enforce those laws in order to maintain order in society.’
    • ‘Of course there are racial problems, but there are also so many positive signs of our society growing together.’
    • ‘Highlighting problems in society is necessary in order to encourage change.’
    • ‘Where do we draw the line between individual freedom and good order in society?’
    • ‘The primary focus of aid must be to rebuild the elements that hold society together and make governments accountable.’
    • ‘Rather we should seek to understand how these groups of peoples together ordered their society.’
    • ‘A good policy is one that can cause society to come together and form a common consensus.’
    • ‘We make compromises with individual integrity in order to allow society to function.’
    • ‘Manners are very much part of an individual's character whereas customs are what society collectively expects its members to do.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In order for society to advance, the theory went, it needed to go back to some golden age in the past.’
    • ‘Without a measure of mutual respect, or deference, name it how you will, there can be no ordered lawful society.’
    the community, the public, the general public, the people, the population
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    1. 1.1 The 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’
      • ‘One third of the wealthiest families in Toronto society are experiencing very healthy growth in their incomes.’
      • ‘This is a valuable addition to the abundant literature about nature and society in the Amazon region.’
      • ‘There is no way that in our modern, civilised society that we can allow this barbaric, medieval practice to continue.’
      • ‘The issue here is related more to the social norms and customs of our society.’
      • ‘With the turn of the century Quebec began the transition to an urban, industrial society.’
      • ‘The arrival of mass consumerism has clearly contributed to more distinct contours of European society in several ways.’
      • ‘What does secularism mean in a modern democratic multicultural society?’
      • ‘Several studies have shown that there is a marked reluctance to use free facilities even among the poorest sections in Indian society.’
      • ‘The affluent in Malay society hold weddings in hotels or large community halls.’
      • ‘It is described as a romance, set across the social divide in the world of Victorian industrial society.’
      • ‘They represented all sections of Peruvian society, and all parts of the media.’
      • ‘Archer is thankful that his future wife knows and follows the manners and customs of New York society.’
      • ‘He was calling on all sections of Irish society to make a special effort to buy Irish this Christmas.’
      • ‘The news of their relationship had created quite a stir among fashionable Roman society and had led to the end of Nancy's marriage.’
      • ‘In traditional Aboriginal society, goods were shared, but in a highly structured and ritualistic way.’
      • ‘This is one of Morrison's constant themes, the importance of class as well as race and gender in American society.’
      • ‘Ghana plays an extremely important role in sections of Maltese society.’
      • ‘Using farm animals for entertainment is unacceptable in a modern, civilised society.’
      • ‘However, the assumption that civil and political rights should have priority is widely shared in our society.’
      • ‘In modern society the ability to communicate, organise and protest is enshrined through laws and constitutions.’
      culture, group, community, civilization, nation, population
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    2. 1.2with adjective A specified section of society.
      ‘no one in polite society uttered the word’
      • ‘Presley shocked polite society in the early 50s but came to symbolise the rebelliousness of rock and roll.’
      • ‘The left's problem with the Bund was not one of accepting a religious community in a secular society.’
      • ‘If there was anything Isabelle loved more than shopping, it was shocking the polite society.’
      • ‘There are some things that shouldn't be mentioned in polite society.’
      • ‘After all they are reflecting the ambitions of the more powerful sections of local society.’
      • ‘In the parlors of polite society, social tolerance sits side by side with multiculturalism.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, she has no clue about how the upper class society lives.’
      • ‘His whole career has been based on identifying with the marginal and empathizing with those whom polite society would scorn.’
      • ‘You know the sort of thing: they aren't properly educated, they don't really know how to behave in polite society.’
      • ‘The musical life of polite European society was a different world altogether.’
      • ‘Do we have to act in a certain way to be accepted in polite society?’
      • ‘The average citizen's own prejudices may have run deep, but he didn't dare speak them out in polite society.’
      • ‘Over the years he built a pagoda to polite English society as it faded in the glare of post-war vulgarity.’
      • ‘This idea was unspeakable in polite society, but it probably played a part in Dole's defeat.’
      • ‘When you live on the fringes of polite society, the rules shift, whereas we are not so bound to language.’
      • ‘But many of the leading figures in this aristocratic society were even more wealthy.’
      • ‘All this helped to establish French as the polite language of aristocratic society across most of Europe.’
      • ‘It is clear that this policy prejudices the poorest sections of rural society and will lead to greater inequality.’
      • ‘Peasant society was becoming more stratified and cohesive, and lords were making greater demands on their tenants.’
      • ‘Yum - the one I made yesterday was wonderful - is it acceptable in polite society to eat it for breakfast as well?’
      sphere, world, milieu, arena, domain
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    3. 1.3 The aggregate of people who are fashionable, wealthy, and influential, regarded as forming a distinct group in a community.
      as modifier ‘a society wedding’
      • ‘Gradually courtesans became passé and geisha rose in status to become glittering and fashionable society women.’
      • ‘Top hats were a dying fashion, continued the columnist, and were generally only seen at society weddings or Ascot.’
      • ‘At the London, Merrick became a celebrity, an object of curiosity, visited by fashionable society women and royalty.’
      • ‘Fellow high society matron Brooke Astor and actress Isabella Rossellini are also dachshund lovers.’
      • ‘So now many of the society matrons in Britain were American born.’
      • ‘Small wonder that this is the place in Madrid for afternoon tea and society weddings.’
      • ‘Shunned by her former society friends, she became a recluse and rarely ever ventured outside.’
      • ‘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
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    4. 1.4count noun A plant or animal community.
      ‘the analogy between insect society and human city is not new’
      • ‘These insects have very strange societies, in which, typically, each colony is ruled by a single queen.’
      • ‘Surely insect societies, from their very earliest days, would require the evolution of antibiotics.’
      • ‘Biting and other types of body contact occur in advanced insect societies.’
      • ‘Such top-down control over reproduction is a common feature of cooperative animal societies.’
      • ‘Group tasks are found in many animal societies and appear to fall into two broad categories.’
      • ‘Many species of dolphin live in complex societies.’
      • ‘Kin recognition serves as the foundation of advanced social systems in a wide variety of other animal societies.’
      • ‘Mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance are well documented in vertebrate societies.’
      • ‘Animal societies are characterized by cooperation as well as conflict.’
      • ‘Two general explanations may account for the lack of nepotism within insect societies.’
      • ‘In insect societies, and particularly in ants, males are by far the neglected sex.’
  • 2An organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity.

    in names ‘the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’
    • ‘While working hard at perfecting his art, in London and Italy, Reynolds was equally assiduous in getting into the right clubs and societies.’
    • ‘The week involves, among other things, the chance to join all the clubs and societies that the university has on offer.’
    • ‘The council are also hopeful that with backing from businesses, coaches from clubs and societies will be able to run training sessions within schools.’
    • ‘He frequently gives talks to art clubs and societies and will be teaching painting in Tuscany this summer.’
    • ‘Unlike Hunt and Lockwood, who prefer to make local friends through friends, Wu goes to societies and clubs to meet people.’
    • ‘Thanks to energetic support from the society, the fund-raising activity was a great success.’
    • ‘Wesleyan University's student organizations are a far cry from the glee clubs and debate societies of yore.’
    • ‘The student society's external relations officer said he is looking forward to working with the group.’
    • ‘Participation for the parade is open to the business sector, private individuals, clubs and societies.’
    • ‘For example, there are over 40 thriving clubs and societies on the island - hardly leaving time for visitors to take a breath.’
    • ‘Formal tastings are also held by wine clubs and societies for less commercial purposes: education or simple pleasure perhaps.’
    • ‘All societies, clubs, associations and organisations relying on annual subscriptions find renewal times somewhat fraught.’
    • ‘Young people should get a greater say in how clubs and societies are run, and should have the option of more meaningful activities.’
    • ‘Charitable organisations and welfare societies should take the initiative to eradicate begging.’
    • ‘Many met together regularly for Bible teaching, prayer and mutual spiritual help in the newly organised religious societies.’
    • ‘There are no fine arts societies, no theatre clubs - only festivals.’
    • ‘Frank Bergin, secretary gave a report on the activities of the society during the past year.’
    • ‘Most clubs and societies exist because people are willing to give up their time to serve on organising committees.’
    • ‘One of the society's activities has been to erect plaques honouring the great range of achievers with Yorkshire roots.’
    • ‘Her memorabilia collection, which she regularly presents to clubs and societies, includes towels, rugs and a flag of the star.’
    association, club, group, band, circle, fellowship, body, guild, college, lodge, order, fraternity, confraternity, brotherhood, sisterhood, sorority, league, federation, union, alliance, affiliation, institution, coterie
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  • 3mass noun The situation of being in the company of other people.

    ‘she shunned the society of others’
    • ‘He was worried he might accidentally hurt one of his friends, or expose himself to be a freak, to be shunned from society.’
    • ‘Ben is a genetic throwback to Neanderthal man, shunned by family and society for his stupidity and ugliness.’
    • ‘The mental health charity Turning Point and homeless charities were astonished by her ease with people shunned by society.’
    • ‘Women who had children born out of wedlock were shunned in Irish society while men were often be given the benefit of the doubt.’
    • ‘Obese people often are shunned by society and blamed for having weak characters.’
    • ‘Also a divorced woman was shunned by society and treated as an outcast.’
    • ‘He also found time in the society of fellow students to doubt and debate all things, and so became something of a republican and a philosopher as well as a physician.’
    company, companionship, fellowship, friendship, comradeship, camaraderie, social intercourse
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

society

/səˈsʌɪɪti/