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

    in names ‘the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’
    • ‘Wesleyan University's student organizations are a far cry from the glee clubs and debate societies of yore.’
    • ‘One of the society's activities has been to erect plaques honouring the great range of achievers with Yorkshire roots.’
    • ‘Thanks to energetic support from the society, the fund-raising activity was a great success.’
    • ‘While working hard at perfecting his art, in London and Italy, Reynolds was equally assiduous in getting into the right clubs and societies.’
    • ‘Young people should get a greater say in how clubs and societies are run, and should have the option of more meaningful activities.’
    • ‘Her memorabilia collection, which she regularly presents to clubs and societies, includes towels, rugs and a flag of the star.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most clubs and societies exist because people are willing to give up their time to serve on organising committees.’
    • ‘The week involves, among other things, the chance to join all the clubs and societies that the university has on offer.’
    • ‘Many met together regularly for Bible teaching, prayer and mutual spiritual help in the newly organised religious societies.’
    • ‘The council are also hopeful that with backing from businesses, coaches from clubs and societies will be able to run training sessions within schools.’
    • ‘Formal tastings are also held by wine clubs and societies for less commercial purposes: education or simple pleasure perhaps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Charitable organisations and welfare societies should take the initiative to eradicate begging.’
    • ‘All societies, clubs, associations and organisations relying on annual subscriptions find renewal times somewhat fraught.’
    • ‘The student society's external relations officer said he is looking forward to working with the group.’
    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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Obese people often are shunned by society and blamed for having weak characters.’
    • ‘Ben is a genetic throwback to Neanderthal man, shunned by family and society for his stupidity and ugliness.’
    • ‘He was worried he might accidentally hurt one of his friends, or expose himself to be a freak, to be shunned from society.’
    • ‘Also a divorced woman was shunned by society and treated as an outcast.’
    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/