peo·​ple | \ ˈpē-pəl How to pronounce people (audio) \
plural people

Definition of people

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 plural : human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest
2 plural : human beings, persons often used in compounds instead of persons salespeople often used attributively people skills
3 plural : the members of a family or kinship
4 plural : the mass of a community as distinguished from a special class disputes between the people and the nobles often used by Communists to distinguish Communists from other people
5 plural peoples : a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group
6 : lower animals usually of a specified kind or situation
7 : the body of enfranchised citizens of a state


peopled; peopling\ ˈpē-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce people (audio) \

Definition of people (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to supply or fill with people
2 : to dwell in : inhabit

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from people


peopleless \ ˈpē-​pə(l)-​ləs How to pronounce people (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for people

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of people in a Sentence

Noun People can be really cruel sometimes. People think the coach should be fired. She tends to annoy people. People say it's impossible, but I'm still going to try. a book for young people a people who migrated across the Bering Strait the native peoples of Mexico Verb a science-fiction novel about a mission to people Mars
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When pressure from the right ramped up and already thin GOP support dropped off, there weren’t many people beyond Capitol Hill willing to keep up the fight. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Are Climate Progressives Organized Enough to Force Biden’s Hand?," 29 Mar. 2021 There were 117 people in the hospital, and 208,320 residents had been fully vaccinated., "Here’s what it’s like to get the COVID-19 vaccine," 29 Mar. 2021 The California Department of Finance, which monitors population data, projects that there are nearly 1.9 million people in L.A. County between the ages of 50 and 64, and 7.2 million in the state. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccine to go around as California demand spikes?," 29 Mar. 2021 Currently, there are almost 8 billion people on Earth. Tony E. Wong, The Conversation, "If everyone on Earth sat in the ocean at once, how much would sea level rise?," 29 Mar. 2021 Out of the league's 185 assistant-coaching positions, 85 of the coaches are people of color. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "What will it take for NBA to increase number of Black head coaches?," 29 Mar. 2021 His episode is a remarkably dignified tribute to the Tongva, the indigenous people who once inhabited the Los Angeles Basin. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "Michelle Obama’s Lesson to Kids: You Are What You Watch," 29 Mar. 2021 One month ago, there were nearly 500 people hospitalized with COVID-19 here. Andres Picon, San Antonio Express-News, "'Play it safe' - Mayor urges caution as San Antonio adds 317 new coronavirus cases," 28 Mar. 2021 There were many people in the area, including Indianapolis police who were riding the area on bicycles. oregonlive, "Oregon State play-by-play announcer Mike Parker attacked in downtown Indianapolis; left ‘a little sore’ but goes to work," 28 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Copenhagen Trilogy, by contrast, is fastidiously unjudgmental toward those who people it, including its author, though an autobiographical account is an ideal vehicle of complaint. Deborah Eisenberg, The New York Review of Books, "Awful But Joyful," 9 Mar. 2021 Protests have mostly been peopled by the young, those on college campuses and those who can take a day off to vent without bearing much consequence. Sarah Haselhorst,, "The faces of protesters are mostly millennials: Who are they and what do they think?," 2 June 2020 In Maricopa County, 196 peopled are thought to have died from heat exposure last summer, up from 182 the year before. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus could worsen death toll of summer heat waves, health officials warn," 5 May 2020 The upper part of the valley is well peopled, and many of the hills are cultivated high up. Scientific American, "Elephants Appear as Far as the Eye Can See," 20 Apr. 2020 Inside, the small, low-ceilinged rooms are peopled with pilgrims. Roxana Robinson, The New Yorker, "Holding Virginia Woolf in Your Hands," 29 Jan. 2020 Most of the floors had at least a few offices with the lights on, at least some of them peopled with executives trying to figure out what to do now. Greg Jefferson,, "Jefferson: Empty sidewalks, eerie silence on San Antonio’s River Walk amid coronavirus outbreak," 20 Mar. 2020 Both writers invented a place and, in novel after novel, peopled it with the same characters. Edmund White, Harper's magazine, "Existential Noir," 6 Jan. 2020 The cybersecurity company partnered with Harris Poll to interview more than 2,000 peopled about their sentiments and tendencies surrounding digital spying. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Americans create fake social media accounts to cyberstalk spouses and exes, survey says," 12 Feb. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of people


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for people


Middle English peple, from Anglo-French pople, peple, peuple, from Latin populus


Middle English, from Anglo-French popler, poeplier, from pople

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about people

Time Traveler for people

Time Traveler

The first known use of people was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for people

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“People.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for people



English Language Learners Definition of people

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: individual human beings
: human beings as a group : all or most people
: a group of people who share a quality, interest, etc.



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

of people : to live or be in (a place)
: to put people in (something, such as a story)


peo·​ple | \ ˈpē-pəl How to pronounce people (audio) \
plural people or peoples

Kids Definition of people

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : all persons considered together “Love makes people act crazy.”— Pam Zollman, Don't Bug Me!
2 : a group of human beings who have something in common young people the people of Montana
Hint: The word people is often used in compounds instead of persons. salespeople
3 : a body of persons making up a race, tribe, or nation the peoples of Asia


peopled; peopling

Kids Definition of people (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fill with human beings or a certain type of human beings … her little world was peopled with imaginary friends …— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
2 : to dwell on or in Farmers people this part of the state.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on people

What made you want to look up people? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!