Social vs sociable

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For someone or something to be described as social it can be an activity in which individuals talk with other people or do activities as a team or in a group. A social person likes to be around others or enjoys having conversations with others. Social can also describe things that have to do with society in general (e.g., Social Security).

One of social’s definitions is sociable, which is solely the aspect of liking other people or accepting of social activities.

When dealing with the two terms as synonyms, one way to consider them is social people like going out and being with people, whereas sociable people are easy for others to get along with. Sociable can also be used when you want to clearly mean interacting with people, especially when one of social’s other definitions could cause confusion.

But in the end the distinction is arbitrary and personal preference reigns.

Sociable has the derivatives of sociably and sociableness. 


Once any corporate obligations are out of the way, marketing your franchise through social media can be an excellent tool to reach your customers and generate sales. [Forbes]

She told of how her mother was a happy, social person who liked to help out elderly people by delivering her own version of meals on wheels. [Bucks Free Press]

But about 25 arachnid species have swapped the hermit’s hair shirt for a more sociable and cooperative strategy, in which dozens or hundreds of spiders pool their powers to exploit resources that would elude a solo player. [New York Times]

Dr Ormond believes that the results may be connected to an impression of sociableness amongst colleagues of those who drink as well as the networking opportunities afforded by after-work drinks and other social occasions. [Evening Echo]

“He did smoke a pipe a little, only very occasionally,

and only drinks sociably.” Yorkshire County Cricket fan Donald, who lives at

William Wood House, in Sudbury, was a passionate gardener, creating “beautiful roses” and landscaping gardens from scratch. [EADT]