noun, plural so·ci·e·ties.
  1. an organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.
  2. a body of individuals living as members of a community; community.
  3. the body of human beings generally, associated or viewed as members of a community: the evolution of human society.
  4. a highly structured system of human organization for large-scale community living that normally furnishes protection, continuity, security, and a national identity for its members: American society.
  5. such a system characterized by its dominant economic class or form: middle-class society; industrial society.
  6. those with whom one has companionship.
  7. companionship; company: to enjoy the society of good friends.
  8. the social life of wealthy, prominent, or fashionable persons.
  9. the social class that comprises such persons.
  10. the condition of those living in companionship with others, or in a community, rather than in isolation.
  11. Biology. a closely integrated group of social organisms of the same species exhibiting division of labor.
  12. Ecclesiastical. ecclesiastical society.
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of elegant society: a society photographer.

Origin of society

1525–35; < Middle French societe < Latin societās, equivalent to soci(us) partner, comrade + -etās, variant of -itās- -ity
Related formsso·ci·e·ty·less, adjectivein·ter·so·ci·e·ty, adjectivenon·so·ci·e·ty, noun, plural non·so·ci·e·ties.sub·so·ci·e·ty, noun, plural sub·so·ci·e·ties.un·der·so·ci·e·ty, noun, plural un·der·so·ci·e·ties.

Synonyms for society

Synonym study

1. See circle. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for sub-society


noun plural -ties
  1. the totality of social relationships among organized groups of human beings or animals
  2. a system of human organizations generating distinctive cultural patterns and institutions and usually providing protection, security, continuity, and a national identity for its members
  3. such a system with reference to its mode of social and economic organization or its dominant classmiddle-class society
  4. those with whom one has companionship
  5. an organized group of people associated for some specific purpose or on account of some common interesta learned society
    1. the privileged class of people in a community, esp as considered superior or fashionable
    2. (as modifier)a society woman
  6. the social life and intercourse of such peopleto enter society as a debutante
  7. companionship; the fact or state of being together with someone elseI enjoy her society
  8. ecology a small community of plants within a larger association

Word Origin for society

C16: via Old French societé from Latin societās, from socius a comrade
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sub-society



1530s, "companionship, friendly association with others," from Old French societe "company" (12c., Modern French société), from Latin societatem (nominative societas) "fellowship, association, alliance, union, community," from socius "companion" (see social (adj.)).

Meaning "group, club" is from 1540s, originally of associations of persons for some specific purpose. Meaning "people bound by neighborhood and intercourse aware of living together in an ordered community" is from 1630s. Sense of "the more cultivated part of any community" first recorded 1823, hence "fashionable people and their doings." The Society Islands were named 1769 by Cook on his third Pacific voyage in honor of the Royal Society, which financed his travels across the world to observe the transit of Venus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sub-society


see under mutual admiration society.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.