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people Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun (plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively
    • old people
    • there were at least 200 people in the audience
  2. noun the body of citizens of a state or country
    • the Spanish people
  3. noun members of a family line
    • his people have been farmers for generations
    • are your people still alive?
  4. noun the common people generally
    masses; the great unwashed; mass; hoi polloi; multitude.
    • separate the warriors from the mass
    • power to the people
  5. verb fill with people
    • Stalin wanted to people the empty steppes
  6. verb furnish with people
    • The plains are sparsely populated

Peo"ple noun
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 comunity 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: (a) One's ancestors or family; kindred; relations; as, my people were English. (b) 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.
Peo"ple transitive verb
Cf. OF. popler, puepler, F. puepler. Cf. Populate.
imperfect & past participle Peopled present participle & verbal noun Peopling
  1. 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

Webster 1913