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Folkways vs. Mores — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on January 8, 2024
Folkways are informal social norms shaping everyday behavior, while Mores are societal norms with moral significance, often enforced by sanctions.
Folkways vs. Mores — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Folkways and Mores


Key Differences

Folkways represent the everyday customs and habits followed by a group of people. These are practices that guide how individuals should behave in ordinary situations. Mores, in contrast, are deeply held societal norms that possess moral significance and dictate what is right or wrong.
In a society, Folkways are not strictly enforced and deviations from them aren't usually met with severe punishment. Mores, on the other hand, are more binding and, when violated, can lead to serious consequences, such as social ostracization or even legal action.
Folkways can be seen in behaviors like table manners or dressing appropriately for an event. These customs enhance social interaction but breaking them doesn't lead to moral outrage. Mores govern behaviors that society deems critically important, such as prohibitions against theft or assault. Violating these norms shakes the moral fabric of the community.
Every culture and society has its own set of Folkways and Mores. While Folkways create a sense of social order and smooth interpersonal relations, Mores establish the moral boundaries that define the core values of the group.

Comparison Chart


Informal social norms for everyday behavior
Strongly held societal norms with moral significance


Not strictly enforced
Strictly enforced, often with sanctions

Consequences of Deviation

Minor social disapproval
Severe social, moral, or legal repercussions


Table manners, fashion etiquette
Prohibitions against theft, assault

Role in Society

Shape daily behaviors and enhance social interactions
Establish moral boundaries and uphold societal core values

Compare with Definitions


Informal societal practices not morally binding.
Local folkways determine how we celebrate certain holidays.


Deeply held societal norms dictating morality.
It's against our community's mores to steal.


Social habits guiding ordinary behavior.
According to local folkways, everyone brings a dish to community potlucks.


Norms enforced by societal or legal consequences.
Breaking some of the community mores can lead to ostracization.


Everyday customs followed by a group.
It's one of the folkways in our town to greet everyone with a smile.


Social rules with serious repercussions if broken.
The mores around marriage are taken seriously in many cultures.


Patterns of behavior passed down within a culture.
Folkways dictate that we don't wear hats indoors.


Practices reflecting core values of a group.
The mores of our society prioritize honesty and integrity.


Societal behaviors that shape daily interactions.
Regional folkways influence our choice of greeting.


Cultural standards that define right or wrong.
Respecting elders is one of the mores deeply ingrained in our culture.


A practice, custom, or belief shared by the members of a group as part of their common culture
Studying the folkways of Appalachia.


A set of moral norms or customs derived from generally accepted practices rather than written laws.


Plural of folkway


Plural of more


Customs; habits; esp., moral customs conformity to which is more or less obligatory; customary law.


(sociology) the conventions that embody the fundamental values of a group

Common Curiosities

Can you give an example of a Folkway?

An example of a Folkway is dressing appropriately for an event or using polite table manners.

Are Folkways strictly enforced in society?

No, Folkways are not strictly enforced, and deviations usually result in minor social disapproval.

What might happen if someone breaks a More?

Violating Mores can lead to severe social, moral, or even legal repercussions.

What are Folkways?

Folkways are everyday customs and habits followed by a group of people.

What is an example of a More?

Prohibitions against theft or assault are examples of Mores in many societies.

Are all societies' Folkways the same?

No, every culture and society has its own set of Folkways that define everyday behavior.

Is it essential to follow all Folkways in a society?

While not essential, adhering to Folkways can ensure smoother social interactions and integration within a group.

Why are Mores important for a society?

Mores establish the moral boundaries and uphold the core values of a society, ensuring social harmony.

How do Mores differ from Folkways?

Mores are deeply held societal norms with moral significance, whereas Folkways are informal norms for everyday behavior.

How are Mores related to morality?

Mores dictate what is considered morally right or wrong within a society.

Do Folkways evolve over time?

Yes, Folkways can evolve or change based on societal shifts and cultural influences.

Can Mores change with societal progress?

Mores can change, but often more slowly given their deep moral significance in society.

Do Folkways have any legal implications?

Typically, Folkways don't have legal implications, but they guide everyday social interactions.

Can Mores have legal consequences?

Yes, some Mores, when violated, can lead to legal consequences.

Are there universal Mores that all cultures share?

While some Mores might be common across cultures due to shared human values, each society has its unique set of Mores.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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