\ ˈfōk How to pronounce folk (audio) \
plural folk or folks

Definition of folk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 folk or folks plural : people generally
2 folk or folks plural : a certain kind, class, or group of people old folks just plain folk country folk media folk
3 folks plural : the persons of one's own family especially : parents
4 : folk music
5 : the great proportion of the members of a people that determines the group character and that tends to preserve its characteristic form of civilization and its customs, arts and crafts, legends, traditions, and superstitions from generation to generation
6 archaic : a group of kindred tribes forming a nation : people

Definition of folk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : originating or traditional with the common people of a country or region and typically reflecting their lifestyle folk hero folk music
2 : of or relating to the common people or to the study of the common people folk sociology

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Examples of folk in a Sentence

Noun Folks say that house is haunted. Some folks think the law should be changed. a home for old folks the distinctive speech of folks from the South I'll be spending the holidays with my folks. His folks gave him everything a kid could want.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This place has been around for so long that the folks who were only introduced to falafels as a concept back in 1966 have grown and had kids of their own. Soleil Ho,, "Falafel’s Drive-In in San Jose will cure what ails you," 17 Feb. 2020 Enjoy the tunes and learn a little folk music history. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Fiddle Fest features fast fingers and bows at Medina County library," 17 Feb. 2020 Six out of 10 of those folks are coming from out of state, with a total economic impact of $644 million. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Baseball big part of life, family for new Cactus League director Bridget Binsbacher," 15 Feb. 2020 The banjo has long been associated with folk and country music, an instrument whose twangy sound suggests a life of back-porch pleasures and homespun tradition. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Banjo Player Brings Folksy Flavor to Met Opera’s ‘Porgy and Bess’," 13 Feb. 2020 Kim Kardashian West just changed her hair again, folks. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Just Debuted New Bronde Hair," 11 Feb. 2020 In Taiwan, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and curious folk customs have flourished together. Chris Schalkx, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Road Trip Through Taiwan's Hot Springs and Tea Plantations," 7 Feb. 2020 Sure, Valentine’s Day is sweet and all, but what we (and most folks) are really jazzed for is Super Bowl LIV. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "When Was the Last Time the Chiefs and the 49ers Were in the Super Bowl?," 2 Feb. 2020 The folk genre was still going strong, albeit without anyone publishing anthologies or poetry collections. Ryan T. Bell, National Geographic, "Cowboy poetry is a 150-year-old tradition. Will it survive in the 21st century?," 30 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Merrifield sought instead to explore folk magic through the material objects that the practitioners themselves had left behind. Geoff Manaugh, The New Yorker, "Witch Houses of the Hudson Valley," 31 Oct. 2019 This year, the event will feature more folk dancing groups, Plevrakis said, and guests can enjoy a DJ on Friday and Sunday, plus a live band on Saturday. Christine Condon,, "'Sense-driven' Bel Air Greek Festival this weekend to feature folk-dancing, new desserts," 13 June 2019 After Carly and Martina, indie band Half-Alive and folk musician Liza Anne finished off the series for the day. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Emerging Artist Series performers infuse youthful energy and soul into Summerfest," 3 July 2018 Programs such as soccer matches, a live animal show, free kids' activities, a book fair, folk art, and crafts, souvenirs and novelty items for sale will round out the festivities. Mark Holan/special To,, "Hungarian Festival is largest in Ohio: Sun Postings," 26 Aug. 2017 Classical musicians usually refer to their instrument as a violin, and most folk players call it a fiddle. Michael Austin,, "Syrah is like a violin, and shiraz is like a fiddle (but sometimes not)," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'folk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of folk


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for folk


Middle English, from Old English folc; akin to Old High German folc people

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Time Traveler for folk

Time Traveler

The first known use of folk was before the 12th century

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Statistics for folk

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Folk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for folk


How to pronounce folk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of folk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

chiefly US, informal : people in general
used to talk to a group of people in a friendly and informal way
informal : a certain kind of people

English Language Learners Definition of folk (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to the common people of a country or region


\ ˈfōk How to pronounce folk (audio) \
plural folk or folks

Kids Definition of folk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : persons of a certain kind or group the old folk rich folks
2 folks plural : people in general Most folks agree with me.
3 folks plural : family members and especially parents

Kids Definition of folk (Entry 2 of 2)

: created by the common people a folk dance folk music

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More from Merriam-Webster on folk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for folk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with folk

Spanish Central: Translation of folk

Nglish: Translation of folk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of folk for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about folk

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