AskDefine | Define people

Dictionary Definition



1 (plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively; "old people"; "there were at least 200 people in the audience"
2 the body of citizens of a state or country; "the Spanish people" [syn: citizenry]
3 the common people generally; "separate the warriors from the mass"; "power to the people" [syn: multitude, masses, mass, hoi polloi]
4 members of a family line; "his people have been farmers for generations"; "are your people still alive?"


1 fill with people or supply with inhabitants; "people a room"; "The government wanted to populate the remote area of the country" [syn: populate]
2 make one's home or live in; "She resides officially in Iceland"; "I live in a 200-year old house"; "These people inhabited all the islands that are now deserted"; "The plains are sparsely populated" [syn: dwell, shack, reside, live, inhabit, populate, domicile, domiciliate]

User Contributed Dictionary



, from pople (French peuple, Spanish pueblo, from populus, related to þeod/theod/peod/deod).


  • a UK /piːpəl/, /pi:p@l/
  • a US /pipəl/|/pipl̩/, /pip@l/|2=/pipl=/
  • Rhymes with: -iːpəl
  • Hyphenation: peo·ple


  1. A body of human beings considered generally or collectively; a group of two or more persons.
  2. (plural peoples) A group of persons forming or belonging to a particular 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. A person's ancestors, relatives or family.
  5. The mass of a community as distinguished from a special class (elite); the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd; the citizens.
  6. .



a body of human beings; a group of two or more persons
a group of persons forming or belonging to a particular nation etc.
  • Afrikaans: volk
  • Bosnian: narod
  • Croatian: narod
  • Czech: lid, lidé
  • Dutch: volk
  • Esperanto: popolo
  • Finnish: kansa, väestö
  • French: peuple
  • German: Volk (plural Völker)
  • Greek: λαός (laós), κόσμος (kósmos), έθνος (éthnos)
  • Hebrew: עם (am)
  • Hungarian: nép
  • Italian: popolo, nazione
  • Japanese: 国民 (kokumin), 民族 (minzoku)
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: گه‌ل, مله‌ت
  • Latin: gens
  • Lithuanian: tauta , liaudis
  • Maori: tangata
  • Mazandarani:
  • Old English: folc, dryht, leode
  • Polish: naród
  • Portuguese: povo
  • Russian: народ, нация
  • Scots: fowk
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: народ
    Roman: narod
  • Slovene: narod
  • Spanish: pueblo
  • Swedish: folk , folkslag
  • Yiddish: פֿאָלק (folk)
a group of persons regarded as being employees etc.
  • Afrikaans: mense
  • Dutch: mensen, volk
  • Esperanto: popolo
  • Finnish: väki, henkilökunta
  • Polish: ludzie, naród
  • Swedish: folk
a person's ancestors, relatives or family
the mass of community as distinguished from a special class
  • Afrikaans: volk
  • Czech: lid, lidé
  • Dutch: volk, massa
  • Esperanto: popolo
  • Finnish: kansa
  • French: peuple
  • Greek: μάζες (mázes), λαός (laós)
  • Japanese: 一般人 (ippanjin)
  • Latin: populus
  • Polish: ludzie
  • Portuguese: povo
  • Russian: народ
  • Spanish: pueblo
  • Swedish: folk (most commonly in definite form folket)


  1. To stock with people or inhabitants; to fill as with people; to populate.
    "He would not be alone, who all things can; / But peopled heaven with angels, earth with man." — Dryden
  2. To become populous or populated.
  3. To inhabit; to occupy; to populate.
    "As thick and numberless / As the gay motes that people the sunbeams." — Milton

Derived terms


to fill with people
to become populous
  • Dutch: bevolkt worden (literally: “become populated”)
  • Finnish: lisääntyä
  • Spanish: poblarse
  • Swedish: befolkas
to inhabit, to occupy


Webster 1913}}



Extensive Definition

People denotes a group of humans, either with unspecified traits, or specific characteristics (e.g. the people of Spain or the people of the Plains). The term people is often used in English as the suppletive plural of person. However, the word persons is sometimes used in place of people, especially when it would be ambiguous with its collective sense (e.g. missing persons instead of missing people). The term people can collectively refer to all humans or it can be used to identify the citizens of a nation, or members of a tribe, ethnic, or religious group. For example, "people of color" is a phrase used in North America to describe non-whites.

In philosophy and religion

The concept of personhood (who is a person within a society) is the fundamental component of any selective concept of people. A distinction is maintained in philosophy and law between the notions "human being", or "man", and "person". The former refers to the species, while the latter refers to a rational agent (see, for example, John Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding II 27 and Immanuel Kant's Introduction to the Metaphysic of Morals). Central issues of interest to people are the understanding of the human condition and the meaning of life, and survival. Religion, philosophy, and science show or represent modes and aspects of inquiry which attempt to investigate and understand the nature, behavior, and purpose of people. Sociology, economics, and politics represent modes by which people investigate how to maximize a collective survival strategy.
Islam recognizes the People of the Book as members of monotheistic faiths founded upon revelation related to its own faith. By contrast, in Judaism, the Jews are often said to be the chosen people, a concept modified by the Christian doctrine of the Elect.

In politics

Various republics govern, or claim to govern, in the name of the people. Both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire used the Latin term Senatus Populusque Romanus, (the Senate and People of Rome). This term was fixed to Roman legionary standards, and even after the Roman Emperors achieved a state of total personal autarchy, they continued to wield their power in the name of the Senate and People of Rome. A People's Republic is typically a Marxist or socialist one-party state that claims to govern on behalf of the people. Populism is another umbrella term for various political tendencies that claim to represent the people, usually with an implication that they serve the common people instead of the elite.

In law

further Popular sovereignty In criminal law, in certain jurisdictions, criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the People. Several U.S. states, including California, Illinois, and New York, use this style. Citations outside the jurisdictions in question usually substitute the name of the state for the words "the People" in the case captions. Four states — Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky — refer to themselves as the Commonwealth in case captions and legal process. Other states, such as Indiana, typically refer to themselves as the State in case captions and legal process. The political theory underlying this format is that criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the sovereign; thus, in these U.S. states, the "people" are judged to be the sovereign, even as in the United Kingdom and other dependencies of the British Crown, criminal prosecutions are typically brought in the name of the Crown. "The people" identifies the entire body of the citizens of a jurisdiction invested with political power or gathered for political purposes.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
people in Arabic: شعب
people in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Народ
people in Catalan: Poble
people in Chuvash: Халăх
people in Danish: Folkeslag
people in German: Volk
people in Spanish: Pueblo (sociedad)
people in Esperanto: Popolo
people in French: Peuple
people in Western Frisian: Folk
people in Friulian: Popul
people in Indonesian: Rakyat
people in Icelandic: Fólk
people in Italian: Popolo
people in Latin: Populus
people in Lingala: Ekólo
people in Dutch: Volk
people in Japanese: 人々
people in Norwegian Nynorsk: Folkegruppe
people in Quechua: Runa llaqta
people in Russian: Народ
people in Simple English: People
people in Tagalog: Mga tao
people in Kabyle: Agdud
people in Venetian: Pòpoło
people in Yiddish: פאלק
people in Chinese: 人民

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Everyman, John Doe, Public, Richard Roe, agnate, ancestors, ancestry, anchor, animal kingdom, assembly, billet at, bivouac, blood, blood relation, blood relative, bodies, body politic, bourgeoisie, breed, brethren, brood, burrow, camp, children, churchgoers, citizenry, clan, clansman, class, cognate, collateral, collateral relative, colonize, come to anchor, common man, common people, commonage, commonality, commonalty, commoners, commonwealth, community, community at large, congregation, connections, consanguinean, constituency, consumers, cultural community, deme, demos, denizen, distaff side, distant relation, domesticate, drop anchor, dwellers, empeople, enate, ensconce, establish residence, estate, everybody, everyman, everyone, everywoman, family, flesh, flesh and blood, flock, fold, folk, folks, forebears, general public, gens, gentry, german, get, grass roots, habitancy, hearth, hive, hoi polloi, homefolks, house, household, inhabit, inhabitants, issue, keep house, kin, kind, kindred, kinfolk, kinnery, kinsfolk, kinsman, kinsmen, kinswoman, kith and kin, laity, laymen, line, lineage, linguistic community, live at, locate, masses, matriclan, men, menage, minyan, mobile vulgus, moor, mortals, move, multitude, nation, nationality, near relation, nest, next of kin, nonclerics, nonordained persons, occupy, offspring, order, parish, parishioners, park, patriclan, people at large, people in general, perch, persons, phratry, phyle, plant, plant kingdom, plebeians, plebes, polity, populace, populate, population, posterity, proletariat, public, race, ragtag and bobtail, rank and file, relations, relatives, relocate, reside, roost, seculars, sept, set up housekeeping, set up shop, settle, settle down, settle in, sheep, sib, sibling, silent majority, sit down, society, spear kin, spear side, species, speech community, spindle kin, spindle side, squat, stand, state, stay at, stem, stirps, stock, strain, strike root, subjects, sword side, take residence at, take root, take up residence, tenant, the citizenry, the crowd, the general public, the people, the populace, the population, the public, third estate, totem, tribe, tribesman, uterine kin, whole people, world, you and me
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