A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
- listed alphabetically by author
- The more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.
- Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990).
- A person who cannot live in society, or does not need to because he is self-sufficient, is either a beast or a god.
- Aristotle, Politics.
- For it is most true that a natural and secret hatred and aversation towards society in any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral. Of Friendship. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Man seeketh in society comfort, use, and protection.
- Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605).
- The history of society is the history of the inventive labors that man alter man, alter his desires, habits, outlook, relationships both to other men and to physical nature, with which man is in perpetual physical and technological metabolism.
- Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx (1978).
- I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.
- Rubén Blades, in a conference at Harvard University reported by Anne Stewart (AP: Cambridge, Mass.), "Not everyone enthusiastic about the future of TV", Bangor Daily News, 18 February 1993.
- A people is but the attempt of many
To rise to the completer life of one—
And those who live as models for the mass
Are singly of more value than they all.
- Robert Browning, Luria, Act V, line 334. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- But now being lifted into high society,
And having pick'd up several odds and ends
Of free thoughts in his travels for variety,
He deem'd, being in a lone isle, among friends,
That without any danger of a riot, he
Might for long lying make himself amends;
And singing as he sung in his warm youth,
Agree to a short armistice with truth.
- The only living socities are those which are animated by inequality and injustice.
- Paul Claudel, Conversations dans le Loir-et-Cher.
- It is the retention by twentieth-century, Atom-Age men of the Neolithic point of view that says: You stay in your village and I will stay in mine. If your sheep eat our grass we will kill you, or we may kill you anyhow to get all the grass for our own sheep. Anyone who tries to make us change our ways is a witch and we will kill him. Keep out of our village.
- Carleton S. Coon, The Story of Man.
- Those families, you know, are our upper crust, not upper ten thousand.
- Cooper, The Ways of the Hour, Chapter VI. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- The rout is Folly's circle, which she draws
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
That none decoy'd into that fatal ring,
Unless by Heaven's peculiar grace, escape.
There we grow early gray, but never wise.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book II, line 627.
- It's not sex and drug advice these kids need, so much as help in acquiring a world view, in motivating them to take responsibility and enabling them to build proper relationships.
- George Curry, Daily Mail (1996).
- Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society. Where there is society, there is trust, and where there is trust, there is something upon which it is supported.
- The abstract concept "society" means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is "society" which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”
- Albert Einstein, Why Socialism? (1949)
- The dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished.
- Albert Einstein, Why Socialism? (1949)
- The virtues of society are the vices of the saint.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, First Series (1841).
- Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (1841).
- Every man is like the company he is wont to keep.
- Euripides, Phœnissæ. Frag. 809. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- In the affluent society, no sharp distinction can be made between luxuries and necessaries.
- John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (1958).
- For every social wrong there must be a remedy. But the remedy can be nothing less than the abolition of the wrong.
- Henry George, Social Problems, Chapter IX. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- The noisy and extensive scene of crowds without company, and dissipation without pleasure.
- Edward Gibbon, Memoirs, Volume I, p. 116. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- I do not think there is anything deserving the name of society to be found out of London.
- William Hazlitt, Table-Talk (1822).
- A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as "state" and "society" and "government" have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame … as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world … aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.
- We have really lost in our society the sense of the sacredness of life.
- Basil Hume, The Observer Review (1995).
- I live in the crowds of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.
- Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, Chapter XVI. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Le sage quelquefois évite le monde de peur d'être ennuyè.
- He might have proved a useful adjunct, if not an ornament to society.
- Charles Lamb, Captain Starkey. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- -- social life is fill’d
With doubts and vain aspirings; solitude,
When the imagination is dethroned,
Is turned to weariness.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon The Venetian Bracelet (1829) 'A History of the Lyre'
- Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.
- L. E. Landon. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Full quote: Truly, society is like a large piece of frozen water ; there are the rough places to be shunned, the very slippery ones all ready for a fall, and the holes which seem made expressly to drown you. All that can be done is to glide lightly over them. Skating well is the great art of social life.
- I see clearly that society is as much a science as astronomy; and, also, that, like poetry, one must be born with a genius for it.
- The Don Quixote of one generation may live to hear himself called the savior of society by the next.
- James Russell Lowell, Don Quixote. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- A system in which the two great commandments were, to hate your neighbour and to love your neighbour's wife.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Essays, Moore's Life of Lord Byron. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
- Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Address (1994).
- A society made up of the individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable. The pressure of ideas would simply drive it frantic.
- H.L. Mencken, Minority Report (1956).
- When society requires to be rebuilt, there is no use in attempting to rebuild it on the old plan.
- John Stuart Mill, Dissertations and Discussions (1859).
There are two ways of considering society. According to some, the development of human associations is not subject to providential, unchangeable laws. Rather, these associations, having originally been organized in a purely artificial manner by primeval legislators, can later be modified or remade by other legislators, in step with the progress of social science. In this system the government plays a preeminent role, because it is upon it, the custodian of the principle of authority, that the daily task of modifying and remaking society devolves.
According to others, on the contrary, society is a purely natural fact. Like the earth on which it stands, society moves in accordance with general, preexisting laws. In this system, there is no such thing, strictly speaking, as social science; there is only economic science, which studies the natural organism of society and shows how this organism functions.
Man experiences a multitude of needs, on whose satisfaction his happiness depends, and whose non-satisfaction entails suffering. Alone and isolated, he could only provide in an incomplete, insufficient manner for these incessant needs. The instinct of sociability brings him together with similar persons, and drives him into communication with them. Therefore, impelled by the self-interest of the individuals thus brought together, a certain division of labor is established, necessarily followed by exchanges. In brief, we see an organization emerge, by means of which man can more completely satisfy his needs than he could living in isolation.
This natural organization is called society.
- Old Lady T-sh-nd [Townshend] formerly observed that the human race might be divided into three separate classes—men, women and H-v-eys [Herveys].
- Attributed to Lady Mary Wortley Montague in Lord Wharncliffe's Ed. of her Letters and Works. Lady Louisa Stuart, in introductory anecdotes to the same, also credits the saying to Lady Montague, Volume I, p. 67. Attributed to Charles Pigott in The Jockey Club, Part II, p. 4. (Ed. 1792). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- La Société est l'union des hommes, et non pas les hommes.
- This new rage for rhyming badly,
Which late hath seized all ranks and classes,
Down to that new estate 'the masses.'
- Thomas Moore, The Fudges in England, Letter 4. The classes and the masses. A phrase used by Gladstone. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- What will Mrs. Grundy say?
- Thomas Morton, Speed the Plough (Ed. 1808), Act I, scene 1. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Heav'n forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733–34), Epistle II, line 249.
- The men with the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck, and to look upward to the celestial crown above them.
- Theodore Roosevelt, address on the laying of the cornerstone of the House Office Building, Washington, D.C. (14 March 1906).
- Society has enfeebled man, not merely by robbing him of the right to his own strength, but still more by making his strength insufficient for his needs.
- There are two kinds of dependence: dependence on things, which is the work of nature; and dependence on men, which is the work of society.
- In human society man is the chief tool of man.
- Money is the source of all the false ideas of society.
- Society must be studied in the individual and the individual in society.
- Men are depraved and perverted by society.
- Society is so general and so mixed there is no place left for retirement, and even in the home we live in public.
- Society is not created by the crowd.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dialogues: Rousseau Judge of Jean-Jacques (published 1782). Second Dialogue.
- Sociale animal est.
- Society is no comfort
To one not sociable.
- Whilst I was big in clamour came there in a man,
Who, having seen me in my worst estate,
Shunn'd my abhorr'd society.
- To make society
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
Till supper-time alone.
- Men lived like fishes; the great ones devoured the small.
- Algernon Sidney, Discourses on Government, Chapter II, Section XVIII. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (1776).
- As the French say, there are three sexes,—men, women, and clergymen.
- Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir, Volume I, p. 262. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanille of society.
- Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir, Volume I, p. 262. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- It is impossible, in our condition of Society, not to be sometimes a Snob.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Book of Snobs, Chapter III. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- As long as men are men, a poor society cannot be too poor to find a right order of life, nor a rich society too rich to have need to seek it.
- R.H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (1921).
- They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations.
- Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate oddfellow society.
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854).
- Society therefore is as ancient as the world.
- Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Policy. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- In the past, women were supposed to be pretty and men successful. Nowadays, everyone has to be able to do everything, and the pressure to satisfy that goal, along with the insecurity it brings, has doubled. Expectations rise while birth rates fall. Women have become a more horrific version of men, readily expressing their displeasure over lack of sexual compliance. Men have become insecure and have fled to the Internet. Both are approaching a state of narcissistic lunacy, and solidarity is something that seems attainable only among friends.
- Ariadne von Schirach, 
- I suppose Society is wonderfully delightful.
To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.
- Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance (1893), Act III.
- Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.
- Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, Act III. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- At present there is no distinction among the upper ten thousand of the city.
- Nathaniel Parker Willis, Necessity for a Promenade Drive. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life.
- William Wordsworth, lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- There is
One great society alone on earth:
The noble Living and the noble Dead.
- William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book XI. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 724–25.
- Society became my glittering bride,
And airy hopes my children.
- William Wordsworth, The Excursion (1814), Book III
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- Now, the vicissitudes that afflict the individual have their source in society. It is this situation that has given currency to the phrase "social forces". Personal relations have given way to impersonal ones. The Great Society has arrived and the task of our generation is to bring it under control. The study of how it is to be done is the function of politics.
- Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear; chapter 3, p. 38 (1952).
- [Society] is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
- Edmund Burke, "Reflections on the Revolution in France", 1790, The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke, vol. 3, p. 359 (1899).
- We must beware of trying to build a society in which nobody counts for anything except a politician or an official, a society where enterprise gains no reward and thrift no privileges.
- Winston Churchill, radio broadcast, London, March 21, 1943. Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 7, p. 6761 (1974).
- The truth is that a vast restructuring of our society is needed if remedies are to become available to the average person. Without that restructuring the good will that holds society together will be slowly dissipated. It is that sense of futility which permeates the present series of protests and dissents. Where there is a persistent sense of futility, there is violence; and that is where we are today.
- William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion, p. 56 (1970).
- The nature of a society is largely determined by the direction in which talent and ambition flow—by the tilt of the social landscape.
- Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time, p. 104 (1967).
- The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.
- Abraham Lincoln, letter to Henry L. Pierce and others, April 6, 1859; in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), vol. 3, p. 375.