social service

noun
Updated on: 8 Jan 2018

Definition of social service

: an activity designed to promote social well-being; specifically : organized philanthropic assistance (such as counseling, job training, or financial support)
  • It operates like a mall with specialty shops, treating students like customers, or the adult clients of a social service, rather than as young people in need of an education for a worthy life.
  • —Joseph Featherstone
  • Most states are struggling with skimpy resources and a system of uncoordinated social services that is totally inadequate to serve a population of individuals whose needs are bottomless.
  • —Constance Holden
often used before another noun
  • social service agencies
  • a social service project

Recent Examples of social service from the Web

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

First Known Use of social service

1761


Learn More about social service


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up social service? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to make or become suitable or fit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Winter Words Quiz

  • fox-in-front-of-cabin-in-winter
  • Another word for ‘a person who travels to an area of warmth and sun, especially in winter’ is a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!