Meaning of PEOPLE in English

I. ˈpēpəl noun

( plural people or peoples ; see numbered senses )

Etymology: Middle English peple, poeple, from Old French pueple, from Latin populus — more at popular

1. people plural

a. : human beings not individually known or considered as individuals

people say

tell people about his luck


(1) : human beings who form a segment of humanity usually sharing a common characteristic

stupid people

met all sorts of people on the trip

people who live in glass houses

(2) : human beings distributively as individuals or constituting a numerable group

we saw many people on our walk

shelter for thousands of people

c. : human beings as distinguished from the lower animals

diseases that people catch from their pets

it is hard to avoid thinking of some dogs as people

we heard cows lowing but saw no people


a. people plural : human beings making up a group or assembly : persons linked by a common factor: as

(1) : the members of a geographically distinct community

the people of the next town

(2) : persons who share in common a point of origin or residence

city people

mountain people

(3) : members of a racial or national group or of a common ancestry

Chinese people

the Slavic people in the U.S.

Negro people

(4) : the members of a caste, class, or other isolable or identifiable group

illiterate people of the community

(5) : persons sharing a common occupation or interest

academic people

(6) : the members of an organization (as a society or congregation)

the people of the new synagogue

b. plural peoples , obsolete : a concourse of persons : throng , multitude

3. people plural

a. : human beings that constitute an organized body subordinate to a superior: as

(1) : the subjects of a ruler

a king's duty to his people

(2) : a body of retainers, servants, or followers

the family and the people of the household

(3) : the crew of a ship as distinguished from the officers

b. : the members of a family or kinship : ancestors

his people have been farmers for generations

her people are all dead

4. people plural

a. : the mass of a community as distinguished from a special class: as

(1) : the common crowd : commonalty , populace

disputes between the people and the nobles

(2) : laity 2

the priest shall say to the people

b. : plain-mannered persons of unassuming and friendly nature : folks

real people , kind and unpretentious

c. usually capitalized : the common people of a country as distinguished from a privileged minority — used especially by Communists to distinguish Communists or those under Communist control from other people

if one compares the situation in the People's Democracies … with that in the capitalist countries — Hilary Minc

in other Communist states … justice is administered by People's Courts — N.D.Palmer

the Bulgarian People's Republic was proclaimed by the national assembly — Statesman's Year Book

5. plural peoples

a. : a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship though not necessarily by consanguinity or by racial or political ties and that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs

many European nations are populated by several distinct peoples

primitive peoples

each people builds a culture adapted to its peculiar needs

b. : a body of persons constituting a politically organized or consanguineous group (as a tribe, nation, or race)

the peoples of Europe

the Caucasian people gradually populated Europe and much of northern Africa

the military genius of the German people


a. : lower animals usually of a specified kind or situation

squirrels, mice, and other mischievous little peoples of field and forest

the clever bee people

b. : supernatural beings that are thought of as similar to humans in many respects

the little people

kobolds, trolls, and such peoples are not to be trusted

7. : the body of enfranchised citizens of a state : electorate ; broadly : the body of persons in whom is vested the sovereignty of a nation or who are capable of expressing their general wish — usually used with the and plural in constr.

8. slang : a human being

Synonyms: see race

II. verb

( peopled ; peopled ; peopling -p(ə)liŋ ; peoples )

Etymology: Middle French peupler, from Old French, from peuple, n.

transitive verb

1. : to supply, stock, or fill with or as if with people

settlers were peopling the new lands

also : to represent or picture as full of inhabitants

2. : to be the inhabitants of : dwell in : inhabit

dreams that people idle hours

a winter sky peopled with stars

intransitive verb

: to become inhabited

the drier lands peopled slowly

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.