so·​ci·​e·​ty | \ sə-ˈsī-ə-tē How to pronounce society (audio) \
plural societies

Definition of society

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : companionship or association with one's fellows : friendly or intimate intercourse : company
2 : a voluntary association of individuals for common ends especially : an organized group working together or periodically meeting because of common interests, beliefs, or profession
3a : an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another
b : a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests
4a : a part of a community that is a unit distinguishable by particular aims or standards of living or conduct : a social circle or a group of social circles having a clearly marked identity literary society
b : a part of the community that sets itself apart as a leisure class and that regards itself as the arbiter of fashion and manners
5a : a natural group of plants usually of a single species or habit within an association
b : the progeny of a pair of insects when constituting a social unit (such as a hive of bees) broadly : an interdependent system of organisms or biological units



Definition of society (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or typical of fashionable society

Examples of society in a Sentence

Noun Poverty hurts society as a whole. We need to do more to help the poorer members of our society. the values of Western society She was introduced to society at a formal reception. The club's members are drawn from the ranks of high society.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Danes plays Cora Seaborne, a woman of London society whose abusive husband dies. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 12 May 2022 And medical society guidelines conclude that the benefits of gender-affirming care outweigh the risks. Heather Boerner, Scientific American, 12 May 2022 Embracing our thinkers, our deep feelers, for their emotional might, is key to a society geared for the 80% to accommodate the 20% better. Alex Wagner, SPIN, 12 May 2022 When many 1950s-era housewives become dragons, society must reckon with newfound female power and autonomy. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 The conflict turned society upside down, longstanding norms blasted away. oregonlive, 11 May 2022 Since Dutch society was relatively segregated, Jews were unlikely to have close non-Jewish friends who would help them find hiding places or support them in hiding. Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2022 The contests celebrate students who are committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society by standing up and speaking out against bias and bigotry. John Benson, cleveland, 11 May 2022 Human capital is crucial to economic growth and a dynamic society. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of society


circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1693, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for society


Middle French societé, from Latin societat-, societas, from socius companion — more at social

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Time Traveler for society

Time Traveler

The first known use of society was circa 1513

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Dictionary Entries Near society

société en commandite


society finch

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Statistics for society

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for society


so·​ci·​ety | \ sə-ˈsī-ə-tē How to pronounce society (audio) \
plural societies

Kids Definition of society

1 : a community or group of people having common traditions, institutions, and interests medieval society western society
2 : all of the people of the world Medical advances help society.
3 : a group of persons with a common interest, belief, or purpose historical societies
4 : friendly association with others


so·​ci·​e·​ty | \ sə-ˈsī-ə-tē How to pronounce society (audio) \
plural societies

Legal Definition of society

1 : the benefits of love, care, affection, and companionship that family members receive from each other sought damages for loss of society from his wife's wrongful death — compare consortium
2 : a voluntary association of individuals dedicated to common ends a conservation society
3 : a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests

Other Words from society

societal \ -​sī-​ət-​ᵊl How to pronounce society (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on society

Nglish: Translation of society for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of society for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about society


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