social contract

[ soh-shuhl kon-trakt ]

  1. the voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau, organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members.

  2. an agreement for mutual benefit between an individual or group and the government or community as a whole.

Origin of social contract

First recorded in 1840–50
  • Also called so·cial com·pact [soh-shuhl kom-pakt] /ˈsoʊ ʃəl ˈkɒm pækt/ . Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use social contract in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for social contract

social contract

  1. (in the theories of Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and others) an agreement, entered into by individuals, that results in the formation of the state or of organized society, the prime motive being the desire for protection, which entails the surrender of some or all personal liberties

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