Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of people
Meaning of people by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English peple, peeple, from Anglo-Norman people, from Old French pueple, peuple, pople ( modern French peuple ), from Latin populus "people", of unknown origin. Probably of non-Indo-European origin, from Etruscan. Gradually ousted native Middle English lede, leed ( “people” ) ( from Old English lēode ) .

    Originally a singular noun ( eg. The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness --2 Samuel 17:29, King James Version ), 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 .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /ˈpiːpəl/, X-SAMPA: /"pi:p@l/
    • ( US ) IPA: /ˈpipəl/, /ˈpipl̩/, X-SAMPA: /"pip@l/, /"pipl=/
    • Rhymes: -iːpəl
    • Hyphenation: peo‧ple
    • Homophone: papal ( some dialects )


    people ( plural common noun and collective noun ( plural: peoples ) )

    1. used as plural of person; a body of human beings considered generally or collectively; a group of two or more persons.
    2. ( plural: peoples ) Persons forming or belonging to a particular group, such as a nation, class, ethnic group, country, family, etc; folk; community .
    3. A group of persons regarded as being employees, followers, companions or subjects of a ruler.
    4. One's colleagues or employees.
    5. A person's ancestors, relatives or family .
      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 .


    Derived terms


    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.
      • 1674, John Dryden, The State of Innocence and the Fall of Man, Act II, Scene I:
        He would not be alone, who all things can; / But peopled Heav'n with Angels, Earth with Man .
    2. ( intransitive ) To become populous or populated .
    3. ( transitive ) To inhabit; to occupy; to populate.

    Derived terms

    See also

    • people in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913


Explanation of people by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. fill with people

    2. Stalin wanted to people the empty steppes
    3. furnish with people

    1. any group of human beings ( men or women or children ) collectively

    2. old people
      there were at least 200 people in the audience
    3. members of a family line

    4. his people have been farmers for generations
      are your people still alive?
    5. the body of citizens of a state or country

    6. the Spanish people
    7. the common people generally

    8. power to the people

    Definition of people by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. People ( pēp'l ), n. [OE. peple, people, OF. pueple, F. peuple, fr. L. populus. Cf. Populage, Public, Pueblo.]
      1. The body of persons who compose a community, tribe, nation, or race; an aggregate of individuals forming a whole; a community; a nation.

      Unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Gen. xlix. 10.

      The ants are a people not strong. Prov. xxx. 25.

      Before many peoples, and nations, and tongues. Rev. x. 11.

      Earth's monarchs are her peoples. Whitter.

      A government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people. T. Parker.

      ☞ Peopleis a collective noun, generally construed with a plural verb, and only occasionally used in the plural form ( peoples ), in the sense of nations or races.

      2. Persons, generally; an indefinite number of men and women; folks; population, or part of population; as, “country people”; -- sometimes used as an indefinite subject or verb, like on in French, and man in German; as, “people in adversity”.

      People were tempted to lend by great premiums. Swift.

      People have lived twenty-four days upon nothing but water. Arbuthnot.

      3. The mass of community as distinguished from a special class; the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd; as, “nobles and people”.

      And strive to gain his pardon from the people. Addison.

      4. With a possessive pronoun: One's ancestors or family; kindred; relations; as, “my people were English”. One's subjects; fellow citizens; companions; followers. “You slew great number of his people.” Shak.

      Syn. -- People, Nation. When speaking of a state, we use people for the mass of the community, as distinguished from their rulers, and nation for the entire political body, including the rulers. In another sense of the term, nation describes those who are descended from the same stock; and in this sense the Germans regard themselves as one nation, though politically subject to different forms of government.

    2. People ( pēp'l ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Peopled ( pēp'ld ) p. pr. & vb. n.; Peopling ( pēp'lĭng ).] [Cf. OF. popler, puepler, F. puepler. Cf. Populate.] To stock with people or inhabitants; to fill as with people; to populate. “Peopled heaven with angels.” Dryden.

      As the gay motes that people the sunbeams. Milton.