The term Western society frequently refers to the societies of Europe and their genealogical, colonial, and philosophical descendants. It is in contrast to Eastern societies; those of Asian origin, and their descendant cultures. The term is often used simply as a synonym of the Western countries.
Western society may follow a chain beginning with the philosophers of Athens such as Solon and Socrates. It continued through the Roman Empire and, with the addition of Christianity (which had its origins in the East), spread throughout Europe. During the colonial era, it became implanted in the Americas and in Australasia.
One should distinguish "Western society" from the socio-economic term "first world" in that, for example, South America is sometimes mentioned as a Western society, but much of it is poor. Japan is wealthy and part of the "first world" but is not Western from a cultural standpoint. Compare the North.