So there's this concept in Wuxia of the "Gallant Fraternity", an informal society of martial brothers and sisters dedicated to justice and defending the weak.

But the original term comes from Chinese, which is an almost entirely gender neutral language, and, use of "fraternity", at this stage of history, is problematic because it implies gender exclusivity, which was never the intent of the original Chinese term.

By the same token, "Gallant Fraternity" has a nice ring, so alternate proposals must also be aesthetically attractive.

Note: This is about the proper noun "Gallant Fraternity", which has extensive usage in English, not about the common noun "fraternity".

early 14c., "body of men associated by common interest," from Old French fraternité (12c.), from Latin fraternitatem (nominative fraternitas) "brotherhood," from fraternus "brotherly," from frater "brother," from PIE root *bhrater- "brother." Meaning "state or condition of being as brothers" is from late 15c. College Greek-letter organization sense is from 1777, first in reference to Phi Beta Kappa.
SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

  • 2
    The more general term carrying the same 19th C flavor is "society".
    – Dan Bron
    May 11, 2018 at 18:58
  • @DanBron that has definitely been proposed as a variant, and may ultimately be the best answer. But still open to alternatives.
    – DukeZhou
    May 11, 2018 at 19:01
  • 2
    I would note that many organizations which refer to themselves as fraternities or fraternal societies admit both men and women, and moreover many so-called sororities refer to themselves as women's fraternities, i.e. fraternities exclusively for women.
    – choster
    May 11, 2018 at 19:04
  • @choster it's a fair point re: contemporary usage, but I'm all about etymology
    – DukeZhou
    May 11, 2018 at 19:06
  • 2
    But if you want something with a "nice ring" to it, I would go with "Fellowship".
    – Hot Licks
    May 11, 2018 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


I think Community is a good modern replacement for notions of groups of mutual support.

A 'supportive community' or 'tight-knit community' or name your adjective or cause. ReactJS community

('gallant' was a fine word, but woefully connected to 'the patriarch' in today speak - I am a guy of yesterday speak yet one needs to be a realist depending on your audience - 'fraternity' is of course tainted by men drinking beer and doing nasty things even if it means more, fellowship is somewhat redeemed by Tolien's title but still smacks of the retrograde 'insider club' of an oxford library , society is good to desribe at large yet 'a society' smacks of victorian notions or perhaps even "John Birch" - or name only things like "honors society" that young people are familiar with that has no meetings at all)

I believe that in common use the word "community" has evolved to its most metaphorical meaning, perhaps ironically, most connected to its longer term scientific meaning

That being said, it does not lose value from its more mundane or secondary meanings but encompasses each of them and more

  • I would argue that by merging its location based meanings with its shared interest based meanings It might now most suggest "a group idealistically cooperating for their common good cause"

community at Oxford Living dictionaries NOUN

1A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

‘Montreal's Italian community’ * ‘the gay community in London’ * ‘the scientific community’

1.1 A group of people living together and practising common ownership. ‘a community of nuns’

1.2 A particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants. ‘a rural community’ ‘local communities’ More example sentencesSynonyms

1.3 A body of nations or states unified by common interests. in names ‘the European Community’

1.4the community The people of a district or country considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities; society. ‘preparing prisoners for life back in the community’

1.5 as modifier Denoting a worker or resource designed to serve the people of a particular area. ‘community health services’

2 (mass noun) The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

‘the sense of community that organized religion can provide’

2.1in singular A similarity or identity.

‘the law presupposes a community of interest between an employer and employees’

2.2 Joint ownership or liability. ‘the community of goods’

3 Ecology A group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat.

‘communities of insectivorous birds’

Issues ? If it were a smaller group or one bound not only by loyalty but by some 'official' membership - community is less good.

If you need to refer to a group that has membership cards, 'community' might not be right, yet perhaps 'official membership' itself taints the notion of the empathetic bond of shared circumstance ? Could something be a true 'brotherhood' yet still require 'membership' in younger peoples mindset's today or is that almost an oxymoron for them ? (I suspect there is at least a taint to official membership)

  • 1
    Thanks for this thorough and thoughtful answer! You make a very strong case regarding usage. Like you, I am often frustrated by what I perceive as overly vigorous enforcement of "newspeak" by certain factions, but still feel we can make reasonable alterations where it doesn't cause harm. (Re: John Birch, I was wondering the other day why there's a Ted Hughes Society and not a Sylvia Plath Society;) Really, I'm just an "equilibrium seeking" individual. When I see things out of balance, I try to address.
    – DukeZhou
    May 12, 2018 at 23:42
  • PS- here it's really an informal society. Thesauruses notwithstanding, I would be interested in your thoughts on replacement for gallant. "Chivalry" is sometimes used synonymously regarding the "Gallant Fraternity", but again, it carries linguistic implications...
    – DukeZhou
    May 12, 2018 at 23:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.