Fraternity vs Sorority: Difference and Comparison

Associations, groups, and organizations are a few words used to describe a group of people who are together for a purpose.

Amidst these words, a few other terms, like fraternity and sorority, are used in the same context. Over time, these fraternity and sorority terms have adopted a negative connotation. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Fraternities cater to male college students, while sororities cater to female students.
  2. Both organizations promote social, academic, and philanthropic growth for their members.
  3. Fraternities and sororities participate in Greek life, fostering community, brotherhood, or sisterhood among members.

Fraternity vs Sorority

Fraternity means brotherhood and it is used to describe a social group or organization that consists of male members working together for a cause, although not always positive. Sorority is a social group that is exclusively filled with female members united for a specific goal, and found in universities.

Fraternity vs Sorority
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The word fraternity is defined as brotherhood. Fraternity derives its origins from the Latin word ‘Fraternus’, which means brother.

So, this term was used to describe any social groups that are filled with male members united for a particular cause or goal. Unlike social organizations, fraternity groups do not always work for positive or societal change. 

The word sorority is briefly defined as a sisterhood. Sorority derives its origins from the Latin word ‘Soror’, which means sister.

Thus, the term was used to describe or denote any social groups that are filled exclusively with female members united for a particular cause or goal. These groups are found in universities.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFraternitySorority
Origin wordLatin word ‘Fraternus’.The Latin word ‘Soror’.
Origin meaningFraternus means brother.Soror means sister.
DefinitionIt is an organization that is filled with male members united for a common cause.It is an organization that is filled with female members united for a common cause.
MembershipIt is opened exclusively to males.It is open exclusively to females.
InceptionThe first fraternity group was Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776.The first sorority group was Gamma Phi Beta, founded in 1874.

What is Fraternity?

The term Fraternity is used to denote the idea of brotherhood. Traditionally, this term was associated with organisations or clubs exclusively filled with only male members.

The word derives its origin from the Latin word ‘Fraternus’, which means brother in Latin. The term has acquired a negative connotation due to its undesirable usage by a few discriminatory groups.

The word fraternity is now widely used around the world to denote any organization or group of people with similar interests.

It has moved from the exclusively male attribute and is now used as a common term, inclusive of everyone. The term fraternity is now even used in the constitutions of several countries. 

A few of the characteristics of fraternity groups are secrecy, ritual, symbols, residencies, and governance. Most of fraternity groups are found at universities.

This is also the reason why fraternity groups share a long history of being associated with academia. Some of the crucial criticism against these groups are issues of elitism, alcoholism, sexism, racism, and discrimination.

Historically, the first fraternity groups date back to the late 18th century. Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 in North America. Many of these groups abandoned the character of secrecy as they transformed into scholastic honour societies.

fraternity

What is a Sorority?

The term sorority is used to denote the idea of sisterhood. Traditionally, this term was associated with organisations or clubs exclusively filled with only female members.

The word derives its origin from the Latin word ‘Soror’, which means sister in Latin. Unlike fraternity, this term has not acquired any negative connotation. 

Sorority groups are social organization groups that are exclusively for females. Earlier in the 1850s, the term women’s fraternity was used to denote these groups.

After the correction of Dr Frank Smalley, the professor of Latin at Syracuse University, the word the groups used were ‘Soror’ and sorority. 

The sorority is, in simple terms, the female equivalent of fraternities. These groups are filled with only female members, just like fraternity groups with males.

Sororities share similar characteristics to fraternities, like working for a common cause. Sorority groups were instrumental in upholding women’s rights and equality in the late 19th century. 

Sorority groups were majorly formed within the universities and faced several administrative issues by the university administrations.

Unlike fraternity groups, they were restricted by the college administrations. Gamma Phi Beta, founded in 1874 at Syracuse University, is one of the first sorority groups in the world.

sorority

Main Differences Between Fraternity and Sorority

  1. Fraternity is derived from the Latin term ‘Fraternus’. The sorority is derived from the Latin term ‘Soror’.
  2. The meaning of the term ‘Fraternus’ is brother. The meaning of the term ‘Soror’ is sister.
  3. Fraternity groups are exclusively filled with male members working together for a common cause. Sorority groups are exclusively filled with female members working together for a common cause or goal.
  4. Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, is the first fraternity group ever. Gamma Phi Beta, founded in 1874 at Syracuse University, is one of the first sorority groups.
  5. Fraternity groups were associated with academia and transformed into scholastic honour societies. Sorority groups struggled with university administrative issues as they voiced out for women’s rights and equality in the 1850s.
Difference Between Fraternity and Sorority
References
  1. https://doi.org/10.25774/2p5f-gt14
  2. 10.1353/csd.2003.0031

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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