so·​cial | \ ˈsō-shəl How to pronounce social (audio) \

Definition of social

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : involving allies or confederates the Social War between the Athenians and their allies
2a : marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates an active social life
b : sociable
c : of, relating to, or designed for sociability a social club
3 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society social institutions
4a : tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others Infants can become social beings only through interaction with others.— Gerald R. Leslie and Sheila K. Korman
b : living and breeding in more or less organized communities especially for the purposes of cooperation and mutual benefit : not solitary Of the canid family, the wolf is one of the most social species, since it is a pack hunter.— Michael W. Fox The evolutionary theory of kin selection requires that social animals recognize their relatives so that altruistic behavior can be displayed preferentially toward kin.Science — see also social insect
c of a plant : tending to grow in groups or masses so as to form a pure stand
5a : of, relating to, or based on rank or status in a particular society a member of our social set
b : of, relating to, or characteristic of the upper classes
c : formal
6 : being such in social situations a social drinker



Definition of social (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of social in a Sentence

Adjective She has poor social skills. The vacation resort held a lot of social events. I joined the club to improve my social life. Her sister is much more social than she is. social institutions like marriage and family Health care is a major social issue. Child abuse has become a serious social problem. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for social change. Most humans are social beings. Noun The club has socials every month. He's living on the social now. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Studies have shown that involvement in advocacy groups and social justice initiatives—even those on social media—can help people to process and channel their feelings in a way that’s empowering, says Dr. Chaudhary. Claire Sibonney, SELF, 10 May 2022 Australia spoke to some of the women leading the way in economic and social policy about where the problems lie and what our future government can do about it. Justine Landis-hanley,, 9 May 2022 To address the violence, Montgomery Steppe said, the city must invest in programs that meet the economic and social needs of residents, especially in underserved communities. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 Her protesting had been limited to posting on social media; putting signs up at her home about social, racial and reproductive justice; writing her views on her car windows; and marching at the Supreme Court or on the National Mall. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 Spatial, a cross-platform social platform that launched in 2018, famously used an avatar that was drawn from a user’s social media presence. Charlie Fink, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Gross national happiness influences Bhutan’s economic and social policy and is a reflection of the general well-being of the population. Jason Hennessey, Rolling Stone, 5 May 2022 As reported by Sportico, both Watkins and Williams have been strong supporters for economic and social inclusion. Okla Jones, Essence, 4 May 2022 An Indigenous economic and social justice movement emerged in the 1990s, as Taiwan democratized and began distancing itself from mainland China, setting the stage for greater Indigenous participation in state affairs. Itamar Waksman, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The program kicks off on a sweet note June 4 with an ice cream social, and in June and July there will be theme weeks including Junior Ranger Week, Woodland Wonders Week, Bug Detectives Week, Under The Stars Week and others. Jeff Vorva,, 12 Apr. 2022 Those students also expressed more satisfaction with life, had a higher sense of social-belonging, engaged in more extracurricular activities and tended to seek out campus resources for help. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2022 The Biden administration’s social-spending and climate bill, currently stalled in Congress, includes several drug-pricing provisions that would rein in drugmakers’ pricing power. Joseph Walker, WSJ, 30 Jan. 2022 Many free and commercial sharing apps have sprung up in response to the rising interest in dark social. Sayantan Dasgupta, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 The provision is part of the latest version of the party’s social-spending and climate bill that could pass as soon as next week. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2021 Many digital activities—from search to social to shopping to live events —could take place inside of games in the coming years. Tim Higgins, WSJ, 2 Oct. 2021 Yubo is a social media that understands what social really means. Jamie Cohen, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 An ice cream social was planned for Tuesday in New Windsor, and another is planned for Union Bridge on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the fire department’s parking lot. Mary Grace Keller,, 19 Aug. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of social


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for social


Middle English, from Latin socialis, from socius companion, ally, associate; akin to Old English secg man, companion, Latin sequi to follow — more at sue

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Time Traveler for social

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The first known use of social was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near social

sociable weaverbird


social action

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Statistics for social

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Social.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for social


so·​cial | \ ˈsō-shəl How to pronounce social (audio) \

Kids Definition of social

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : enjoying other people : sociable a social person
2 : relating to interaction with other people especially for pleasure a busy social life
3 : of or relating to human beings as a group Marriage and family are social institutions.
4 : living naturally in groups or communities Bees are social insects.
5 : relating to or based on rank in a particular society social classes

Other Words from social

socially adverb socially active



Kids Definition of social (Entry 2 of 2)

: a friendly gathering for a group


so·​cial | \ ˈsō-shəl How to pronounce social (audio) \

Medical Definition of social

1a : tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others of one's kind
b : living and breeding in more or less organized communities social insects
2 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society immature social behavior

Other Words from social

socially \ -​ē How to pronounce social (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on social

Nglish: Translation of social for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of social for Arabic Speakers


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