1. Narratively.
  2. Societally.

They both get marked as wrong on Word and result in *No definitions found for this word. Try searching the web on google dictionary.

They appear overall uncommon in use, so I just wanted to see if they are legitimate words and ask why they may not be used as much in general?

Example of usage:

The story was weak narratively.

They were societally maladjusted.


Yes, they are proper words, and your examples use them correctly. They just aren’t needed that often, bordering on technical.

Most spell checkers have a fairly limited list of words that they recognize, and they omit many uncommon words because they’re more likely to be misspellings of a common word than valid uses of the uncommon one. That’s why they say to check a dictionary rather than telling you the words are wrong; they know their list is incomplete!

A real dictionary should contain most known words, even uncommon or archaic ones, and all their forms. They still don’t include the most obscure technical words, but the online ones tend to be a lot better than print dictionaries of the past, which had to trade size for completeness.


Unfortunately, there is no ultimate authority for what is or isn't "a proper word".

But the (full) Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is certainly accepted as one of the best authorities, and it has both words : narratively recorded from 1629, and societally from 1906.

As for why they are not much used: like most "why" questions about language, the answer is "because that's the way it happens to be".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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