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Borrowed from German Gesellschaft, from Geselle +‎ -schaft. Compare to English gemeinschaft



Gesellschaft (plural Gesellschaften or Gesellschafts)

  1. (sociology) a hypothetical mode of society, made up of self-serving individuals linked by impersonal ties; as opposed to Gemeinschaft
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow:
      Seven years later, Hernández wrote a Return of Martín Fierro in which the Gaucho sells out: assimilates back into Christian society, gives up his freedom for the kind of constitutional Gesellschaft being pushed in those days by Buenos Aires.


German Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia de


From Middle High German gesellescaft, from Old High German giselliscaft. Equivalent to Geselle +‎ -schaft.


  • IPA(key): /ɡəˈzɛlʃaft/
  • Hyphenation: Ge‧sell‧schaft
  • (file)


Gesellschaft f (genitive Gesellschaft, plural Gesellschaften)

  1. society, community
    • 1932, Erich Mühsam, Die Befreiung der Gesellschaft vom Staat, in: Erich Mühsam: Prosaschriften II, Verlag europäische ideen Berlin (1978), page 253:
      Immer wieder hören wir die Frage von Personen, denen die Gedankenwelt des Anarchismus nicht vertraut ist: Was wollt ihr eigentlich? Wie stellt ihr euch eine Gesellschaft ohne Staat und Obrigkeit vor?
      Again and again we hear the question from people who are not familiar with the world of ideas of anarchism: What do you actually want? How do you imagine a society without state and authorities?
    • 1995, “Digital ist Besser”, performed by Tocotronic:
      In einer Gesellschaft in der man bunte Uhren trägt / In einer Gesellschaft wie dieser bin ich nur im Weg
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
  2. circle (of friends, people with common interests)
  3. (business) company


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