(noun) The process of an individual or group learning the expected norms and customs of a group or society through social interaction.

Example: Children are socialized by their parents who teach them acceptable behaviors in certain social situations such as not talking in movies and respecting their elders.

Audio Pronunciation: (so·cial·i·za·tion)

Download Audio Pronunciation: socialization.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: socializations
  • Socialization typically relates to children, but socialization is continual as an individual or group adapts to other individuals or groups, roles, and situations.
  • Socialization can be intentional (anticipatory socialization) or unintentional and formal or informal.
  • Agents of socialization include family, mass media, peer groups, and schools.
  • Socialization is similar to enculturalization. The distinction between the two is socialization is learning societal norms, and enculturalization is learning cultural norms; however, neither process occurs independent of the other.  Socialization typically refers to children and is formal or deliberate, enculturalization typically refers to “people” in general and is informal.
  • Some sources list acculturation, enculturation, and socialization as synonyms, while these terms are similar and easily confused, they are not synonyms in an academic context.
  • Variant form: socialisation
  • People (verb) socialize themselves and others by (verb) socializing with other (noun) socializers in order to become (noun) socialized.
  • Socialization used in a sentence: Children begin the process of socialization the day they are born.

Related Quotations:

  • “The kind of person we become depends greatly on what we learn during our formative years from our surrounding social groups and social environment” (Kendall 2006:105).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 



Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Useful Information

Parts of Speech:
  • (adjective) - Word that expresses an attribute of a noun (big, little, short, tall).
  • (adverb) - Word that modifies or qualifies the meaning of an adjective (unbelievably talented), verb (singing loudly), or another adverb (singing quite beautifully).
  • (noun) - Person (teacher, Bob); place (mountain, New York City) thing (rock); idea (happiness); or quality (charismatic).
  • (verb) - Action (run); occurrence (happen); or state of being (be).
  • e.g. - For example
  • etc. - And so on
  • i.e. - In other words
  • Ibid. - In the same place
  • et al. - And others
Useful terms:
  • coin - (verb) To create a word or additional meaning of a word.
  • compare - (noun) How two or more things are similar.
  • connotation - (noun) The figurative or emotional meaning of a word.
  • contrast - (noun) How two or more things are different.
  • denotation - (noun) The literal dictionary meaning of a word.
  • type - (noun) A specific version of the primary word.
  • [Example] - Indicates modification from the original, without changing the meaning, used typically for capitalization, to change plurality, or for clarification.
  • - Indicates a new paragraph, used in long quotes to show original formatting.
  • . . . - Indicates the removal of a portion of the quoted text for brevity but not in a way that changes the meaning.