What’s the difference betweensocial and societal? Not much, but enough that you may become the victim of social stigma if you ignore subtle societal signals.
Societal is the pedantic alternative to social. They both mean “pertaining to society,” but as the latter word, first attested in the Middle Ages, was increasingly used in the modern era to refer to interpersonal contact rather than in the context of complex forces within human populations, societal appeared in the latter part of the nineteenth century as a more serious, scholarly alternative. It is mostly seen in such usage and is otherwise considered pretentious.
- Social vs. Societal (dailywritingtips.com)
- Capitalism, the Superior Societal System (constitutionclub.org)
- On the True Devastation of Social Stigma (ofglassandpaper.com)