American English

Definition of people noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[plural] persons; men, women, and children At least ten people were killed in the crash. There were a lot of people at the party. Many young people are out of work.
  2. 2[plural] persons in general or everyone He doesn't care what people think of him. She tends to annoy people. Use everyone or everybody instead of “all people.”
  3. 3[countable] all the persons who live in a particular place or belong to a particular country, race, etc. the American people the native peoples of the Great Plains see also townspeople
  4. 4the people [plural] the ordinary men and women of a country rather than those who govern or have a special position in society the life of the common people It was felt that the government was no longer in touch with the people. see also little people
  5. 5[plural] men and women who work in a particular type of job or are involved in a particular area of activity a meeting with business people and bankers These garments are intended for professional sports people.
  6. 6[plural] (literary) the men, women, and children that a person leads The king urged his people to prepare for war. the story of the Zulu leader who died while attempting to free his people
  7. 7[plural] the men and women who work for you or support you I've had my people watching the house for a few days. Our people are all highly trained and motivated.
  8. 8[plural] (informal) guests or friends I'm having people to dinner this evening.
  9. 9[plural] (old-fashioned) the men, women, and children that you are closely related to, especially your parents, grandparents, etc. She's spending the holidays with her people.
  10. 10[plural] (informal) used when trying to get a group of people to listen to you Look, people, you’ve got to quiet down or we’ll be here all night. see also boat people, street people, tradespeople
  11. Idioms
      be all things to all men/people
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    1. 1(of people) to please everyone by changing your attitudes or opinions to suit different people
    2. 2(of things) to be understood or used in different ways by different people
    a man of the people
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    (especially of a politician) a man who understands and is sympathetic to ordinary people He is not only a statesman, but also a man of the people.
    of all people
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    when you say of all people, you are emphasizing that someone is the person you would most or least expect to do something She of all people should know the answer to that.
    people (who live) in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (saying)
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    you should not criticize other people, because they will easily find ways of criticizing you
    used when addressing a group of people Would you people please move on?
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: people