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

Essential Meaning of people

1 : individual human beings
2 : human beings as a group : all or most people He doesn't care what people think of him. [=he doesn't care what anyone thinks of him] People can be really cruel sometimes. See More ExamplesPeople think the coach should be fired. She tends to annoy people. People say it's impossible, but I'm still going to try.Hide
3 : a group of people who share a quality, interest, etc. a book for young people the American people See More ExamplesThe environmental people [=the people who are interested in protecting the environment] are against the town's plan to build more houses along the river. city people [=people who live in cities]Hide

Full 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

Other Words from people


peopleless \ ˈpē-​pə(l)-​ləs How to pronounce people (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 Wickert and his family started attending the church specifically for its ministry for people with disabilities. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, 6 Dec. 2021 World Population Review reports that inbreeding isn’t uncommon in more rural areas in the eastern part of the Bluegrass state. Fellow Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth was prompted to do damage control for the good people of Kentucky. al, 6 Dec. 2021 Police are searching for the people responsible for vandalizing tunnels with swastikas and other antisemitic graffiti near the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho. Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY, 6 Dec. 2021 The clinics will offer Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as well as booster doses for people who have already been vaccinated and doses of the Pfizer shot for children five to 11. oregonlive, 5 Dec. 2021 In effect, the United States without Roe would look very different for different people. New York Times, 5 Dec. 2021 Numerous initiatives have been launched to improve health for people historically underserved by the U.S. health care system, most aimed broadly at reducing health disparities. Ian Tong, STAT, 5 Dec. 2021 Parliament recently approved a vaccine mandate for people over age 60. The Associated. Press, Arkansas Online, 5 Dec. 2021 Lopud 1483, a hotel in Croatia, can be booked for about $11,300 a night for up to 10 people. WSJ, 5 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Given his years dancing alongside them as a New York City Ballet member, choreographer Justin Peck knows the men and women who people his art especially well. Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2021 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, 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,, 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, 5 May 2020 The upper part of the valley is well peopled, and many of the hills are cultivated high up. Scientific American, 20 Apr. 2020 Inside, the small, low-ceilinged rooms are peopled with pilgrims. Roxana Robinson, The New Yorker, 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,, 20 Mar. 2020 Both writers invented a place and, in novel after novel, peopled it with the same characters. Edmund White, Harper's magazine, 6 Jan. 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries Near people

peony red


people's bank

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Statistics for people

Last Updated

8 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“People.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for people


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on people

Nglish: Translation of people for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of people for Arabic Speakers


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