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Webster 1913 Edition


People

Peo′ple

(pē′p’l)
,
Noun.
[OE.
peple
,
people
, OF.
pueple
, F.
peuple
, fr. L.
populus
. Cf.
Populage
,
Public
,
Pueblo
.]
1.
The body of persons who compose a community, tribe, nation, or race; an aggregate of individuals forming a whole; a community; a nation.
Unto him shall the gathering of the
people
be.
Gen. xlix. 10.
The ants are a
people
not strong.
Prov. xxx. 25.
Before many
peoples
, and nations, and tongues.
Rev. x. 11.
Earth’s monarchs are her
peoples
.
Whitter.
A government of all the
people
, by all the
people
, for all the
people
.
T. Parker.
Peopleis a collective noun, generally construed with a plural verb, and only occasionally used in the plural form (peoples), in the sense of nations or races.
2.
Persons, generally; an indefinite number of men and women; folks; population, or part of population;
as, country
people
; – sometimes used as an indefinite subject or verb, like on in French, and man in German;
as,
people
in adversity
.
People
were tempted to lend by great premiums.
Swift.
People
have lived twenty-four days upon nothing but water.
Arbuthnot.
3.
The mass of community as distinguished from a special class; the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd;
as, nobles and
people
.
And strive to gain his pardon from the
people
.
Addison.
4.
With a possessive pronoun:
(a)
One's ancestors or family; kindred; relations;
as, my
people
were English
.
(b)
One's subjects; fellow citizens; companions; followers.
“You slew great number of his people.”
Shak.
Syn.
People
,
Nation
.
When speaking of a state, we use people for the mass of the community, as distinguished from their rulers, and nation for the entire political body, including the rulers. In another sense of the term, nation describes those who are descended from the same stock; and in this sense the Germans regard themselves as one nation, though politically subject to different forms of government.

Peo′ple

(pē′p’l)
,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Peopled
(pē′p’ld)
p. pr. & vb. n.
;
Peopling
(pē′p’lĭng)
.]
[Cf. OF.
popler
,
puepler
, F.
puepler
. Cf.
Populate
.]
To stock with people or inhabitants; to fill as with people; to populate.
Peopled heaven with angels.”
Dryden.
As the gay motes that
people
the sunbeams.
Milton.

Webster 1828 Edition


People

PEOPLE

,
Noun.
[L. populus.]
1.
The body of persons who compose a community, town, city or nation. We say, the people of a town; the people of London or Paris; the English people. In this sense, the word is not used in the plural, but it comprehends all classes of inhabitants, considered as a collective body, or any portion of the inhabitants of a city or country.
2.
The vulgar; the mass of illiterate persons.
The knowing artist may judge better than the people.
3.
The commonalty, as distinct from men of rank.
Myself shall mount the rostrum in his favor,
And strive to gain his pardon from the people.
4.
Persons of a particular class; a part of a nation or community; as country people.
5.
Persons in general; any persons indefinitely; like on in French, and man in Saxon.
People were tempted to lend by great premiums and large interest.
6.
A collection or community of animals.
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer. Prov.30.
7.
When people signified a separate nation or tribe, it has the plural number.
Thou must prophesy again before many peoples. Rev.10.
8.
In Scripture, fathers or kindred. Gen.25.
9.
The Gentiles.
--To him shall the gathering of the people be. Gen.49.

PEOPLE

,
Verb.
T.
To stock with inhabitants. Emigrants from Europe have peopled the United States.

Definition 2021


people

people

English

Noun

people (countable and uncountable, plural peoples)

  1. Used as plural of person; a body of human beings considered generally or collectively; a group of two or more persons.
    Why do so many people commit suicide?
    • ca. 1607: XXII people was in this parrish drownd. (Plaque recording the Bristol Channel floods)
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice:
      "What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society."
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 12, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      There were many wooden chairs for the bulk of his visitors, and two wicker armchairs with red cloth cushions for superior people. From the packing-cases had emerged some Indian clubs, [], and all these articles [] made a scattered and untidy decoration that Mrs. Clough assiduously dusted and greatly cherished.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes like
        Here's rattling good luck and roaring good cheer, / With lashings of food and great hogsheads of beer. []
    • 2013 June 1, Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 11:
      But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
    • 2013 June 29, A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (countable) Persons forming or belonging to a particular group, such as a nation, class, ethnic group, country, family, etc; folk; a community.
  3. A group of persons regarded as being employees, followers, companions or subjects of a ruler.
  4. One's colleagues or employees.
    • 2001, Vince Flynn, Transfer of Power, p.250:
      Kennedy looked down at Flood's desk and thought about the possibilities. "Can you locate him?" "I already have my people checking on all [it]."
    • 2008, Fern Michaels, Hokus Pokus, page 184:
      Can I have one of my people get back to your people, Mr. President?" She tried to slam the phone back into the base and failed.
  5. A person's ancestors, relatives or family.
    My people lived through the Black Plague and the Thirty Years War.
  6. The mass of a community as distinguished from a special class (elite); the commonalty; the populace; the vulgar; the common crowd; the citizens.
    Economocracy is government of the people, for the plutocrats, by their puppets.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about [], or offering services that let you [] "share the things you love with the world" and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.

people

  1. plural of person

Usage notes

When used to mean "persons" (meaning 1 below), "people" today takes a plural verb. However, in the past it could take a singular verb (see image).

Plaque recording the Bristol Channel floods, 1607 New Style. Caption reads in part, "XXII PEOPLE WAS IN THIS PARRISH DROWND".

Synonyms

Derived terms

Translations

See also

Verb

people (third-person singular simple present peoples, present participle peopling, simple past and past participle peopled)

  1. (transitive) To stock with people or inhabitants; to fill as with people; to populate.
  2. (intransitive) To become populous or populated.
  3. (transitive) To inhabit; to occupy; to populate.
    • a. 1645, John Milton, Il Penseroso, lines 7–8:
      [] / As thick and numberless / As the gay motes that people the Sun Beams, / []

Derived terms

Translations

References

  • people in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: here · thought · found · #140: people · still · just · while

French

Alternative forms

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /pi.pɔl/

Etymology

Borrowing from English people.

Noun

people m (plural peoples)

  1. (countable) A celebrity, a famous person.
    • 2004, Emmanuel Davidenkoff and Didier Hassoux, Luc Ferry: une comédie du pouvoir, 2002–2004 (Luc Ferry: A Comedy of Power, 2002–2004), Hachette, ISBN 9782012357785,
      Le novice en politique contre le mammouth « Éducation nationale ». Ça mérite la sympathie. Et puis c’est un people. Les gens aiment et détestent à la fois. Ils sont fascinés. Le bonheur sur papier glacé. Les vacances entre Saint-Trop’, la Martinique et Deauville.
      The political novice against the mammoth "National Education". That merited sympathy. Then, too, he was a celebrity. People loved and hated at the same time. They were fascinated. Happiness on ice paper. Vacations between Saint-Tropez, Martinique, and Deauville.
    • 2008, Martine Delvaux, "L’égoïsme romantique de Frédéric Beigbeder" ("Frédéric Beigbeder's L’égoïsme romantique (Romantic Egotism)"), in Alain-Philippe Durand (editor), Frédéric Beigbeder et ses doubles (Frédéric Beigbeder and His Doubles), Rodopi, ISBN 978-90-420-2472-4, page 95:
      Oscar Dufresne est un people anti-people, un macho impuissant, un intellectuel qui ne dit rien d’intelligent, un faux sadique et un faux masochiste, un anti-autobiographe.
      Oscar Dufresne is a celebrity who is anti-celebrity, a powerless macho man, an intellectual who says nothing intelligent, a fake sadist and a fake masochist, an anti-autobiographer.

Usage notes

  • The French noun people is frequently italicized as a loanword, as in the quotations above.

Synonyms

Derived terms

  • pipolisation