SOCI'ETY, noun [Latin 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 foundation of society are the wants and fears of individuals.
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 for various objects; societies for mechanics, and learned societies; societies for encouraging arts, etc.
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? Heav'n's greatness no society can bear.
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 no territorial limits. In Massachusetts, such as incorporated society is usually called a parish, though consisting of persons only, without regard to territory.