Difference between Society and Association

This is a discussion thread · 33 replies
1 2 3 4
Giancarlo:
Hello,
I am Italian and I don't understand the difference between Society and Association. In Italian there is a remarkable difference, because "Societa'" mainly means "Company", while "Associazione" is "Association".
But what about English (and American)?
I understand that they are very similar, even though I feel there is a difference. I imagine that there is a little legal difference also.

To my surprise, I found on Google that "Association" is used much more than "Society", 140M vs 71M, that is 2 times more used! This difference becomes striking if you consider that the word "society" has a second main meaning also: it also means "group of people" that is different from other groups due to social or cultural reasons or whatever. Instead, the word "association" mainly means... "association", with no other important meanings. So the real difference 140M vs 71M may become even 140M vs 50M or so, if this is taken into account.
However, I also figure "Society" and "Association" in another way, that is somewhat the opposite of what I just wrote. I imagine (but I am not sure) that "Society" is considered more as a "Club", while "Association" has a more "socialist" meaning (I am not able to explain my feeling better than this).
Coming to culture and science, both should have the same meaning, but I see that usually there are more Associations than Societies. However I see exceptions, for example there many, many more "Historical Societies" than "Historical Associations"! I am not able to understand why.
If I should give a name to a society or association (provided that there are not remarkable legal differences that force me to use one of the two words), I would prefer "Society" because it is shorter and it sounds much better (to me). But I understand (due to Google results) that usually people prefer "Association".
Finally I don't understand how important is the article "The" in this case (this is a problem that I also see in other matters: for example I would say "New York Times", rather than "The New York Times"). So, imagine I should create a Society/Association called "Mickey Mouse Society" or "Brooklyn Bridge Society". Of course I would get the Internet domains "mickeymousesociety.org" and
"brooklynbridgesociety.org" (and possibly dot com also). So, would it be important that I get the domains with the article "the" also? I mean: "themickeymousesociety.org" and "thebrooklynbridgesociety.org". Or would they be useless?
Consider the Brooklyn Bridge only:
to protect the name of my association should I get 8 domains? Actually
2 x 2 x 2 makes 8: I should get 2 because of Society/Association, 2because of org/com, and finally I should repeat each of them 2 times, without/with the article "the".
Thanks for any explanation or comment.
Giancarlo
Italy
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Giancarlo:
While waiting for responses (if there will be any) about "Society" and "Association", I would ask how these 2 words relate to other common words
with similar meaning (even though I believe that "Society" and "Association" are closer to each other than to other words): Club
Committee
Commission
Council
Corporation (must it be a company? Or can a Association be a Corp.?). I also imagine that there may be minor differences between the UK and the USA.
Thanks
Giancarlo
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Areff:
[nq:1]While waiting for responses (if there will be any) about "Society" and "Association", I would ask how these 2 words ... though I believe that "Society" and "Association" are closer to each other than to other words): Club Committee Commission Council[/nq]
I think your question is both complex and unclear. I think you're asking not about the general usage of 'association' and 'society', but their usage in names of organizations, a quite separate thing.

One generalization about AmE is that while 'society' often occurs in the names of organizations (particularly non-profit ones), it is not often used generically in such a manner. 'Association' is more often used generically, but even there, the usual term in modern American English is 'organization' (which, though it properly embraces for-profit enterprises, is most often used to describe non-profits I think).
[nq:1]Corporation (must it be a company? Or can a Association be a Corp.?).[/nq]
One thing you might not realize, though clearly it is true of other countries, is that the naming of organizations is regulated by laws and such in the country concerned. In the US, companies are generally formed under state rather than federal law, so you have 50+ different laws on how corporations, partnerships, non-profits, etc. can be properly named.

In the US, most often, a for-profit limited-liability beneficially-owned-via-stock-shares company has to be given a full name that makes clear that it has this status, so there has to be what I call an "enterprise marker" like "Inc." or "Corp.", but "Ltd." will be acceptable in some (but not all) states, etc.
In generic AmE usage, 'corporation' implies a for-profit incorporated company of the sort I describe above, except in some special governmental cases (municipal governments of incorporated cities are sometimes referred to as 'the corporation'). "A corporation" is definitely going to be an incorporated business enterprise. There are many different ways a business can be structured besides a conventional limited-liability stock company, but some states have more ways than others (typically, there are one or more categories in between the traditional partnership and the traditional corporation). You might have more than one type of non-profit organization.
An "association" in legal AmE usage generally refers to the legal status of an unincorporated, non-partnership group (of people, etc.) a labor union, for example, is an "association". But in generic* usage an "association" is obviously a much broader concept (having, for example, quite abstract applications). And in *naming practice, you might even be able to have a non-association (in the legal sense) using "Association" in their name, but this might be prohibited by law. Now do you see why your question is unclear?
[nq:1]I also imagine that there may be minor differences between the UK and the USA.[/nq]
Major. First you need to decide what you're asking us about naming practices, or generic usage practices. Those are two different things.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Steve Hayes:
[nq:1]Hello, I am Italian and I don't understand the difference between Society and Association. In Italian there is a remarkable ... very similar, even though I feel there is a difference. I imagine that there is a little legal difference also.[/nq]
Often the difference is just euphony.
When deciding whether to call their group a club, sociaty or association, people might pick the one that produces the best combination of initials.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Steve Hayes:
[nq:1]While waiting for responses (if there will be any) about "Society" and "Association", I would ask how these 2 words ... a Association be a Corp.?). I also imagine that there may be minor differences between the UK and the USA.[/nq]
In south Africa, before the reorganisation of local government about 5 years ago, people in KwaZulu Natal would refer to the city government as the "corporation", while those in Gauteng would speak of "the municipality."

So it was "Durban Corporation" but "Johannesburg municipality".

A few years before that we also had Close(d) Corporations. These were legal entities that could sue and be sued in their own name, but were sdmaller and easier to register than Companies.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Areff:
[nq:1]A few years before that we also had Close(d) Corporations. These were legal entities that could sue and be sued in their own name, but were sdmaller and easier to register than Companies.[/nq]
We have these in Lamerica too, and perhaps we invented them. "Close" is an abbreviation of "closely-held", so I believe that "****" has to be regarded as either an error or something that originated as an error. Moreover, at the risk of committing the etymological fallacy (or something similar) of Ray Wisean fame, I would say that it has to be /kloUs/, not /kloUz/.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Peter H.M. Brooks:
[nq:1]A few years before that we also had Close(d) Corporations. These werelegal entities that could sue and be sued in their own name, but were sdmallerand easier to register than Companies.[/nq]
And, as far as I could determine, unnecessary unless you needed a tax dodge. Accountants and lawyers make good money from setting up CCs, but, if you wish to trade all you need is to be a sole trader and, if you are going to make over R60,000 a year, VAT registration.

"That," he said, "is a distinguished civilian, John Stuart Mill. He was an authority on political economy."
"Why?" asked Bertie.
"Well, he wanted to be; he thought it was a useful thing to be."

Bertie gave an expressive grunt, which conveyed his opinion that there was no accounting for tastes. - Saki, The Toys of Peace
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Ian Noble:
[nq:2]While waiting for responses (if there will be any) about ... each other than to other words): Club Committee Commission Council[/nq]
[nq:1]I think your question is both complex and unclear. I think you're asking not about the general usage of 'association' and 'society', but their usage in names of organizations, a quite separate thing.[/nq]
I couldn't agree more. I started to respond late last night, but gave up in favour of getting some sleep for precisely that reason. I'd be more than happy to chuck in my 50p worth of opinion on UK usage of the all these terms, but when it comes down to the legal niceties, I'm not the man (nor do I believe this is easily the correct place in which to attempt an answer).
Cheers - Ian
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Ian Noble:
I found the following lurking on the web. I can't guarantee its accuracy, but it agrees with such facts as I'm confident of. The first three sections, in particular, may be of use.

http://www.scottishrugby.org/downloads/constitutions.pdf

Cheers - Ian
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Show more
Live chat
Registered users can join here