Definition for SO-CI'E-TY

SO-CI'E-TY, n. [Fr. société; Sp. sociedad; It. società; L. societas, from socius, a companion. See Sociable.]

  1. The union of a number of rational beings; or a number of persons united, either for a temporary or permanent purpose. Thus the inhabitants of a state or of a city constitute a society, having common interests; and hence it is called a community. In a more enlarged sense, the whole race or family of man is a society, and called human society. The true and natural foundations of society, are the wants and fears of individuals. – Blackstone.
  2. Any number of persons associated for a particular purpose, whether incorporated by law, or only united by articles of agreement; a fraternity. Thus we have Bible societies, missionary societies, and charitable societies for various objects; societies of mechanics, and learned societies; societies for encouraging arts, &c.
  3. Company; a temporary association of persons for profit or pleasure. In this sense, company is more generally used.
  4. Company; fellowship. We frequent the society of those we love and esteem.
  5. Partnership; fellowship; union on equal terms. Among unequals what society can sort? – Milton. Heaven's greatness no society can bear. – Dryden.
  6. Persons living in the same neighborhood, who frequently meet in company and have fellowship. Literary society renders a place interesting and agreeable.
  7. In Connecticut, a number of families united and incorporated for the purpose of supporting public worship, is called an ecclesiastical society. This is a parish, except that it has not territorial limits. In Massachusetts, such an incorporated society is usually called a parish, though consisting of persons only, without regard to territory.

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