Definition of Significant Other
(noun) Term used to denote an individual who is important in one’s life.
Significant Other Pronunciation
Syllabification: sig·nif·i·cant oth·er
- American English – /sig-nIf-i-kuhnt UHTH-uhr/
- British English – /sig-nIf-i-kuhnt UHTH-uh/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /səgˈnɪfɪkənt ˈʌðər/
- British English – /sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt ˈʌðə/
- Plural: significant others
- Chiefly used to describe partners, but is also used for a variety of other individuals.
- Significant others are agents of socialization.
- The sociological definition of significant other varies from the general definition that refers to a romantic partner.
- Sex and Gender Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “significant” and “other” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (N.d.) Britannica Digital Learning. (https://britannicalearn.com/).
Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
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.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Ritzer, George, ed. 2007. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2016. “significant other.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved January 28, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/significant-other/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
significant other. (2016). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/significant-other/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2016. “significant other.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed January 28, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/significant-other/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“significant other.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2016. Web. 28 Jan. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/significant-other/>.