noun, plural ge·sell·schaf·ten [German guhzel-shahf-tuh n] /German gəˈzɛlˌʃɑf tən/. (often initial capital letter)

  1. an association of individuals for common goals, as for entertainment, intellectual, or cultural purposes or for business reasons.
  2. Sociology. a society or group characterized chiefly by formal organization, impersonal relations, the absence of generally held or binding norms, and a detachment from traditional and sentimental concerns, and often tending to be rationalistic and secular in outlook.

noun plural -schaften (German -ʃaftən)

  1. (often capital) a social group held together by practical concerns, formal and impersonal relationships, etcCompare gemeinschaft

1887, “social relationship based on duty to society or an organization,” from German Gesellschaft, from geselle “companion” + -schaft “-ship.”

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