people

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English puple, peple, peeple, from Anglo-Norman people, from Old French pueple, peuple, pople, from Latin populus (a people, nation), from Old Latin populus, from earlier poplus, from even earlier poplos, from Proto-Italic *poplos (army) of unknown origin. Gradually ousted native English lede and, partially, folk.

Originally a singular noun (e.g. The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness –2 Samuel 17:29, King James Version, spelling modernized[1]), the plural aspect of people is probably due to influence from Middle English lede, leed, a plural since Old English times (compare Old English lēode (people, men, persons), plural of Old English lēod (man, person)). See also lede, leod.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpiːpəl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpipəl/, /ˈpipl̩/, [ˈpʰipɫ̩]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːpəl
  • Hyphenation: peo‧ple
  • Homophone: papal (some dialects)

Noun[edit]

people (countable and uncountable, plural peoples)

  1. Used as plural of person; a body of human beings considered generally or collectively; a group of two or more persons.
    Synonyms: (slang) peeps, lede, leod
    There were so many people at the restaurant last night.
    • c. 1607, plaque recording the Bristol Channel floods:
      XXII people was in this parrish drownd.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, chapter 6, in Pride and Prejudice[1], OCLC 38659585:
      "What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society."
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 12, in The Mirror and the Lamp[2], →ISBN, OCLC 647181172, archived from the original on 22 November 2017:
      There were many wooden chairs for the bulk of his visitors, and two wicker armchairs with red cloth cushions for superior people. From the packing-cases had emerged some Indian clubs, [], and all these articles [] made a scattered and untidy decoration that Mrs. Clough assiduously dusted and greatly cherished.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[3], →ISBN, archived from the original on May 9, 2016:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes like
        Here's rattling good luck and roaring good cheer, / With lashings of food and great hogsheads of beer. []
    • 2013 June 1, “Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist[4], volume 407, number 8838, archived from the original on 10 October 2018, page 11:
      But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist[5], volume 407, number 8842, archived from the original on 3 November 2018, page 72-3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (countable) Persons forming or belonging to a particular group, such as a nation, class, ethnic group, country, family, etc.
    Synonyms: collective, community, congregation, folk
  3. A group of persons regarded as being employees, followers, companions or subjects of a ruler.
    Synonyms: fans, groupies, supporters
  4. One's colleagues or employees.
    • 2001, Vince Flynn, Transfer of Power (fiction), Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 250:
      Kennedy looked down at Flood's desk and thought about the possibilities. "Can you locate him?"
      "I already have my people checking on all three. So far I've only been able to confirm the whereabouts of the Jordanian officer."
    • 2008, Fern Michaels, Hokus Pokus (fiction), →ISBN, page 184:
      Can I have one of my people get back to your people, Mr. President?" She tried to slam the phone back into the base and failed.
  5. A person's ancestors, relatives or family.
    Synonyms: kin, kith, folks
    My people lived through the Black Plague and the Thirty Years War.
  6. The mass of a community as distinguished from a special class (elite); the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd; the citizens.
    Synonyms: populace, commoners, citizenry
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “Conscious computing: how to take control of your life online”, in The Guardian Weekly[7], volume 189, number 2, archived from the original on August 24, 2013, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about [], or offering services that let you [] "share the things you love with the world" and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.

people

  1. plural of person.

Usage notes[edit]

  • When used to mean "persons" (meaning 1 above), "people" today takes a plural verb. However, in the past it could take a singular verb.
  • Nowadays, "persons" as the plural of "person" is considered highly formal. All major style guides recommend people rather than persons. For example, the Associated Press and the New York Times recommend "people" except in quotations and set phrases. Under the traditional distinction, which Garner says is pedantic, persons describes a finite, known number of individuals, rather than the collective term people. "Persons" is more used in technical and legal contexts.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from people

Descendants[edit]

  • Jamaican Creole: piipl
  • Pijin: pipol

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

people (third-person singular simple present peoples, present participle peopling, simple past and past participle peopled)

  1. (transitive) To stock with people or inhabitants; to fill as with people; to populate.
  2. (intransitive) To become populous or populated.
  3. (transitive) To inhabit; to occupy; to populate.
    • a. 1645, John Milton, Il Penseroso, lines 7–8:
      [] / As thick and numberless / As the gay motes that people the Sun Beams, / []
  4. (rare, informal) To interact with people; to socialize.
    • 2018, Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Darkest Star, Tor Teen (→ISBN), page 149:
      I don't people well.” “Not peopling well is a crap excuse,” I retorted, and started to step around him, but a sudden thought occurred to me.
    • 2019, Casey Diam, Love, [8]:
      My head tilted as Calvin said, "Don't worry about him. He just doesn't people well.
      The fuck? I people. Sometimes. With people I know.
    • 2020, Teri Anne Stanley, Lucky Chance Cowboy, Sourcebooks, Inc. (→ISBN)
      I don't people well.” He laughed at that. “You do okay,” he assured her.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The informal interaction sense is chiefly used in the negative.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], 1611, OCLC 964384981, 2 Samuel 17:29, column 2: “ [] The people is hungrie, and wearie, and thirſtie in the wilderneſſe.”

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Since 2000, named after People, an American weekly magazine that specializes in celebrity news, human-interest stories, and gossip.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

people m or f (plural people)

  1. (countable) A celebrity, celebrities, famous person(s).
    • 2004, Emmanuel Davidenkoff and Didier Hassoux, Luc Ferry: une comédie du pouvoir, 2002–2004 (Luc Ferry: A Comedy of Power, 2002–2004), Hachette, →ISBN,
      Le novice en politique contre le mammouth « Éducation nationale ». Ça mérite la sympathie. Et puis c’est un people. Les gens aiment et détestent à la fois. Ils sont fascinés. Le bonheur sur papier glacé. Les vacances entre Saint-Trop’, la Martinique et Deauville.
      The political novice against the mammoth "National Education". That merited sympathy. Then, too, he was a celebrity. People loved and hated at the same time. They were fascinated. Happiness on ice paper. Vacations between Saint-Tropez, Martinique, and Deauville.
    • 2008, Martine Delvaux, "L’égoïsme romantique de Frédéric Beigbeder" ("Frédéric Beigbeder's L’égoïsme romantique (Romantic Egotism)"), in Alain-Philippe Durand (editor), Frédéric Beigbeder et ses doubles (Frédéric Beigbeder and His Doubles), Rodopi, →ISBN, page 95:
      Oscar Dufresne est un people anti-people, un macho impuissant, un intellectuel qui ne dit rien d’intelligent, un faux sadique et un faux masochiste, un anti-autobiographe.
      Oscar Dufresne is a celebrity who is anti-celebrity, a powerless macho man, an intellectual who says nothing intelligent, a fake sadist and a fake masochist, an anti-autobiographer.
  2. (uncountable, m) showbusiness, popular media that feature stories on celebrities and famous people (as represented by magazines such as People, (UK) Hello!, (France) Paris Match)

Usage notes[edit]

  • The French noun people is frequently italicized as a loanword, as in the quotations above.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Noun[edit]

people

  1. Alternative form of peple