social vs societal :

social or societal

“Societal” as an adjective has been in existence for a couple of centuries, but has become widely used only in the recent past. People who imagine that “social” has too many frivolous connotations of mere partying often resort to it to make their language more serious and impressive. It is best used by social scientists and others in referring to the influence of societies: “societal patterns among the Ibo of eastern Nigeria.” Used in place of “social” in ordinary speech and writing it sounds pretentious.

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  • n  a party of people assembled to promote sociability and communal activity
  • a  relating to human society and its members
    social institutions
    social legislation
  • a  living together or enjoying life in communities or organized groups
    a human being is a social animal
    mature social behavior
  • a  relating to or belonging to or characteristic of high society
    made fun of her being so social and high-toned
    a social gossip colum
  • s  composed of sociable people or formed for the purpose of sociability
    a purely social club
    the church has a large social hall
    a social director
  • s  tending to move or live together in groups or colonies of the same kind
    ants are social insects
  • s  marked by friendly companionship with others
    a social cup of coffee

  • a  relating to human society and its members
    societal evolution
    societal forces
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