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[fohk-weyz] /ˈfoʊkˌweɪz/
plural noun, Sociology
the ways of living, thinking, and acting in a human group, built up without conscious design but serving as compelling guides of conduct.
Origin of folkways
folk + ways; term introduced in a book of the same title (1907) by W. G. Sumner Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for folkways
  • Other newcomers cannot adapt to the unfamiliar folkways of politics.
  • She collected costumes from the era and learned its crafts and folkways.
  • Hunting stories provide a rich source of both folklore and a window on past folkways and environmental conditions.
British Dictionary definitions for folkways


plural noun
(sociol) traditional and customary ways of living
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for folkways

coined 1907 in book of the same name by U.S. sociologist William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), who also is credited with ethnocentrism, found in the same book.

Folkways are habits of the individual and customs of the society which arise from efforts to satisfy needs. ... Then they become regulative for succeeding generations and take on the character of a social force. [Sumner, "Folkways"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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