n. pl. so·ci·e·ties
a. The totality of people regarded as forming a community of interdependent individuals: working for the benefit of society.
b. A group of people broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture: rural society; literary society.
2. An organization or association of persons engaged in a common profession, activity, or interest: a folklore society; a society of bird watchers.
3. The wealthy, socially dominant members of a community. Also called high society.
4. Companionship; company: enjoys the society of friends and family members.
5. Biology A colony or community of organisms, usually of the same species: an insect society.
[French société, from Old French, from Latin societās, fellowship, from socius, companion; see sekw-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.