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 This past spring, an outbreak of E. coli traced to romaine lettuce made more than 200 people sick and killed five. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "61 sick in parasite outbreak linked to McDonald's salads," 14 July 2018 The Department of Homeland Security has reassigned an additional 230 people in order to comply with the court’s ruling, according to Azar, as reported by USA Today. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 The other is that those innovative companies must be led by people intimately familiar with what is happening on the frontlines of care: doctors, nurses, and others who directly care for patients. Alexi Nazem, STAT, "Health care needs more physician CEOs like Atul Gawande," 13 July 2018 The largest site will be at the Sacramento Community Center Theater, where 2,400 people are expected to participate. Anthony Barcellos, sacbee, "How Big Sing California aims to bring joy to six cities and 10,000 performers," 13 July 2018 Like the Park, the concerts are free—a gift to the city’s people. The New Yorker, "In Central Park, Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Are a Gift to the City," 13 July 2018 Price represented a comfortable suburban Atlanta district during his years in Congress, but people there don’t usually drive around throwing dollar bills out the window. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Auditor: Tom Price Owes Government $341,000 for Unauthorized Travel Expenses," 13 July 2018 Trans people and allies condemned the casting announcement across social media. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Scarlett Johansson won’t play a trans man after all.," 13 July 2018 Of course, some people love to eat sushi every day, but that’s really not recommended for anyone because of the high mercury levels, Dr. Ruiz says. Korin Miller, SELF, "Hilary Duff May Have Eaten Sushi While Pregnant and Everyone Needs to Chill Out About It," 13 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two peopled died in Indianapolis, Ind., on Wednesday, after a car fell from the fourth floor of a parking garage. Josiah Bates, Time, "2 People Dead After Car Falls From Parking Garage Fourth Floor in Indiana," 23 Oct. 2019 Finances allowing, Nigerian weddings are densely peopled affairs spanning days or weeks, uncompromising in their opulence. Yemisi Aribisala, The New Yorker, "The Beauty and Burden of Being a Nigerian Bride," 19 Sep. 2019 Sokh, for instance, although part of Uzbekistan and encircled by Kyrgyzstan, is peopled mostly by Tajiks. The Economist, "Convoluted borders are hampering Central Asian integration," 31 Oct. 2019 Boston is a small town, a collection of neighborhoods, peopled by those of different colors and ethnicities and possibilities., "Billy McGonagle was more than a public servant; he was a public treasure," 11 Oct. 2019 By the end of 1984, Apple executives celebrated their triumph over the mainframe with 19 holiday parties, one featuring a Dickensian village peopled by performers in period garb. Kim Phillips-fein, The New Republic, "The Failed Political Promise of Silicon Valley," 27 Sep. 2019 And like his namesake from the popular sitcom, this Joey Tribbiani is also a fun-loving guy who people love to be around. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Joey Tribbiani and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 1 Nov. 2019 Broadly speaking, they are peopled by creative types, like the mostly professional writers whose columns these are. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Which episodes of Amazon’s ‘Modern Love’ are worth your time? Use our handy guide," 18 Oct. 2019 The voices created the Paynes, the Browns, the Cryers and countless other characters and caricatures that peopled Perry’s plays, movies and television series. New York Times, "Tyler Perry Builds a New Kingdom, With Madea Behind Him," 2 Oct. 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

Cite this Entry

“People.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on people

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for people

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with people

Spanish Central: Translation of people

Nglish: Translation of people for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of people for Arabic Speakers

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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