The main difference between social and societal is that the adjective social can describe people, whereas the adjective societal cannot describe people.
Both adjectives social and societal mean pertaining to society or social relations. In this context, these two adjectives are interchangeable. The adjective social also has an additional meaning – it also describes people who enjoy being with others. However, the adjective societal does not have this meaning.
Key Areas Covered
1. What Does Social Mean
– Definition, Meaning, Examples
2. What Does Societal Mean
– Definition, Meaning, Examples
3. What is the Difference Between Social and Societal
– Comparison of Key Differences
Social, Societal, Society
What Does Social Mean
Social is an adjective that has several meanings. All these meanings are related to the word society. Let’s now look at these meanings and some examples to understand this adjective more clearly.
- Relating to society and its organization
Alcoholism is a major social problem in third world countries.
The social structure of feudalism consisted of three main classes.
He has a good social standing.
The committee was established to look into major social issues.
- Someone or something that enjoys being with others or has to do with people living or gathering in groups
She is a very social person.
Humans are social beings, and isolation can result in depression.
He has begun to make friends and be social.
Social is an adjective very commonly used in different contexts. For example, you’ll often see phrases like social problems, social development, social diseases, social pressure, social life, social media, social issues, etc. Most of these phrases refer to the first meaning explained above.
What Does Societal Mean
Societal is an adjective meaning “relating to society or social relations.” It can also mean relating to social groups, or to their activities, customs, etc. Therefore, we use this adjective to describe something that is related to society, for example, societal changes or societal pressure. Let’s quickly look at some example sentences containing this adjective.
The analysts said that this discovery would have a huge societal impact.
The second world war resulted in many societal changes.
Depression can also be a result of societal pressure.
She fought many societal norms to reach this position and bring about changes in society.
However, this adjective is not very commonly used, especially in comparison to the adjective social. Moreover, the word societal in all example sentences above can be replaced with the adjective social. But note that the adjective social is not always equivalent to the adjective social. As explained in the above section, the adjective social also has several other meanings.
Difference Between Social and Societal
Social is an adjective that means ‘pertaining to society or its organization’ or ‘needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities’. Societal, on the other hand, is an adjective that means ‘relating to society or social relations’.
The adjective social can describe people, whereas the adjective societal cannot describe people.
The adjective social is more commonly used than the adjective societal, which is very rare in usage.
Social also acts as a noun form, which refers to an informal social gathering. In contrast, societal has no noun form.
Both adjectives social and societal mean pertaining to society or social relations. In this context, these two adjectives are interchangeable. However, the adjective societal is not very much seen in modern usage. Another between social and societal is that the adjective social can describe people, whereas the adjective societal cannot describe people.