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



Gesellschaft ‎(plural Gesellschaften)

  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.

Usage notes[edit]

Note that in English, it may be spelled with a lower case 'g'.

  • Societies may be characterized along a continuum of a G1 (gemeinschaft or rural) to G2 (gesellschaft or urban). — Fredericks, Marcel / Miller, Steven I. / Odiet, Jeff A. / Fredericks, Janet P., "Toward an Understanding of Cellular Sociologoy and Its Relationship to Cellular Biology", Education, Vol. 124 Issue 2, p237-256, Winter, 2003


German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de


From Geselle +‎ -schaft.


  • IPA(key): [ɡəˈzɛlʃaft]
  • Hyphenation: Ge‧sell‧schaft


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?
  2. (business) company


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