so·​ci·​e·​tal | \sə-ˈsī-ə-tᵊl \

Definition of societal 

: of or relating to society : social societal forces

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from societal

societally \ sə-​ˈsī-​ə-​tᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Examples of societal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The moon symbolizes our emotions, and on a societal scale, women. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's November Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 28 Oct. 2018 For a manner of nourishment that is biologically ordained, breastfeeding has long been subject to societal whims. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Breastfeeding Movement Is Experiencing a Tech Revolution—Here's How It's Helping New Moms," 11 Sep. 2018 Much of this habit is rooted in societal ideas about what is important. Cynthia Kane, SELF, "6 Negative Self-Talk Phrases to Cut Out of Your Vocabulary," 7 Sep. 2018 Yet given the struggles of students in urban school districts, no proposal should be easily dismissed — so the question remains about whether the portfolio idea might be structured in ways that advance societal goals. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What’s really going on in Indiana’s public schools," 12 July 2018 The forwarding of fake news is a rising societal problem in India, where more than 200 million users — many of them on smartphones for the first time — send billions of messages each day on WhatsApp. Annie Gowen, Washington Post, "As rumors fuel mob lynchings in India, WhatsApp offers $50,000 grants to curb fake news," 4 July 2018 Bailey told IndyStar there is not much police can do to fix deep-rooted, societal problems that portray crime and violence as a normal way of life. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "As murders rise among Indianapolis youth, so too does the search for answers," 2 July 2018 Politicians, parents' groups, and the media have long blamed them for all sorts of societal problems—addiction, violence, bullying, the list goes on. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "News / Technology / The Internet Video games are public enemy #1 . . . again," 19 June 2018 But this is one of those rare societal problems that can be fixed pretty easily. Thom Duffy, Billboard, "March For Our Lives and HeadCount to Stage Voter Registration 'Day of Action' to Fight Gun Violence," 25 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of societal

1890, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about societal

Statistics for societal

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for societal

The first known use of societal was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for societal



English Language Learners Definition of societal

: of or relating to society

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on societal

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


to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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