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informal norm (informal social norm)

Definition of Informal Norm

(noun) A casual behavior to which an individual generally conforms.

Example of Informal Norm

  • Facing toward the door in an elevator.

Informal Norm Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /ᵻnˈfɔrm(ə)l nɔ(ə)rm/
    • British English
      • /ɪnˈfɔːml nɔːm/
  • Syllabification: (in·for·mal norm)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: informal norms
  • The terms “informal norm” and “informal social norm” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • When people violate informal norms, others might respond with informal sanctions.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Informal Norm

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “informal norm.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 26, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/informal-norm/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

informal norm. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/informal-norm/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “informal norm.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 26, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/informal-norm/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“informal norm.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/informal-norm/>.