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 personssalespeople often used attributivelypeople 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 peopling (audio) \

Definition of people (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from people


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for people

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Parks said firefighters were still working to learn if there were any other people in the building when the explosion occurred. Washington Post, "Explosion in Harrisonburg, Va. leaves three injured," 17 Oct. 2020 Of the approximately 312,000 mail-in or drop-off ballots the San Diego County Registrar of Voters had received on Thursday, 10.4 percent, or roughly 32,448 voters, are people who don’t usually vote by mail, said the county registrar, Michael Vu. Morgan Cook, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Voting by mail: how it works, safeguards, and remedies if something goes wrong," 17 Oct. 2020 Investigators say people were in the area taking photos of the changing landscape colors, and may have inadvertently captured a photo of the suspect. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A 24-year-old Wauwatosa man was stabbed to death at Devil's Lake State Park, the suspect is still at large, police say," 17 Oct. 2020 Many people were unable to get screened at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and some are still delaying screening because of fear of contracting COVID-19. Anne S. Grauel,, "Health Dept.: Don’t put off screenings out of fear of coronavirus," 17 Oct. 2020 During the break, other people on the line started speaking to Harris, who was listening in from the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Jason Meisner,, "Judge rules ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris to remain jailed on child pornography charges," 16 Oct. 2020 Voters in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere encountered hours-long lines that required congregating with hundreds of other people this week. Arkansas Online, "Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears," 16 Oct. 2020 Greene said the mixture has, at most, been provided to ten other people under the compassionate use program that Trump used for patients who have no other alternative. Peter Fimrite,, "Fetal tissue research, Donald Trump and the science behind the politics," 16 Oct. 2020 The hockey player who the officials believe infected the other 14 people started experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat and a headache the day after the game. Alex Sundby, CBS News, "CDC warns of "superspreader" events after hockey game causes outbreak among players," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Its universe is one peopled almost entirely with white men looking to out-alpha male one another — a fantasy of the 1960s and not a reflection of the actual era. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "‘Ford v Ferrari’ is a well-oiled entertainment machine," 13 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for people

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for people

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“People.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for people


How to pronounce people (audio)

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.

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Comments on people

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