social contract


Definition of social contract

: an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each

Examples of social contract in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Congress was considering major upgrades to the New Deal social contract that brought a fair amount of prosperity to the working class in exchange for longstanding labor peace. Sarah Jaffe, The New Republic, "The Road Not Taken," 24 June 2019 Fresh thinking within the Democratic Party should and will include an overdue debate about the balance of obligations in the social contract. Mark Schmitt, Vox, "Why did Bernie Sanders’s Stop BEZOS legislation draw so much resistance?," 18 Sep. 2018 And how would a democracy ask its members to commit to a social contract for citizenship without making a military career one option of public service? Jeff Rice, Twin Cities, "Jeff Rice: I damaged the ROTC offices at Northwestern University. Here’s how — and why — I atone," 24 June 2019 The crypto world and the Afrikaner right share the rhetoric that the end is nigh: The financial system is fallible, the social contract unstable. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 All of this has led to a huge shift in the US social contract, from one in which supports are based on poverty — often limited to deep poverty — to one in which programs are based on need and children. Mark Schmitt, Vox, "Why did Bernie Sanders’s Stop BEZOS legislation draw so much resistance?," 18 Sep. 2018 The brilliance of the performance is to render Inga’s actions horrifyingly logical for someone unconstrained by the social contract. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: An Icelandic Suburb Hides Deep Dysfunction ‘Under the Tree’," 5 July 2018 The International Monetary Fund sponsored several changes to government entitlements that underlay the Jordanian social contract. Allison Spencer Hartnett, Washington Post, "Can Jordan’s new prime minister reform the government?," 13 June 2018 At a time when Britain’s social contract has been shaken by Brexit, and scandals like the Grenfell tower fire, there is enormous— value in having a member of the royal family who is not white, nor especially privileged. Daisy Goodwin, Time, "How Meghan Markle Is Giving the Royal Family the Shake-Up It Needs," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social contract.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of social contract

1660, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for social contract

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for social contract

The first known use of social contract was in 1660

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More Definitions for social contract

social contract

so·​cial contract

Legal Definition of social contract

: an actual or hypothetical agreement among individuals forming an organized society or between the community and the ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each

More from Merriam-Webster on social contract

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with social contract Encyclopedia article about social contract

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something desired as essential

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