Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The common people of a society or region considered as the representatives of a traditional way of life and especially as the originators or carriers of the customs, beliefs, and arts that make up a distinctive culture: a leader who came from the folk.
  • n. Archaic A nation; a people.
  • n. Informal People in general. Often used in the plural: Folks around here are very friendly.
  • n. People of a specified group or kind. Often used in the plural: city folks; rich folk.
  • n. Informal The members of one's family or childhood household; one's relatives.
  • n. Informal One's parents: My folks are coming for a visit.
  • adj. Of, occurring in, or originating among the common people: folk culture; a folk hero.
  • idiom just folks Informal Down-to-earth, open-hearted.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the inhabitants of a land, their culture, tradition, or history.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to common people as opposed to ruling classes or elites.
  • n. A grouping of smaller peoples or tribes as a nation.
  • n. The inhabitants of a region especially the native inhabitants.
  • n. One’s relatives especially one’s parents.
  • n. Folk music.
  • n. People in general.
  • n. A particular group of people.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In Anglo-Saxon times, the people of a group of townships or villages; a community; a tribe.
  • n. People in general, or a separate class of people; -- generally used in the plural form, and often with a qualifying adjective
  • n. The persons of one's own family.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. People, considered either distributively or collectively.
  • n. plural Persons mentally classed together as forming a special group: with a qualifying adjective or clause: in this use chiefly colloquial and generally in the form folks; as, old folks; young folks; poor folks.
  • n. The people as an aggregate; the common people: in this use without a plural form.
  • n. An aggregate or corporate body of persons; a people; a nation: as singular folk, as plural folks (but rare in the plural).
  • n. plural friends: as, we are not folks now.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. people descended from a common ancestor
  • n. the traditional and typically anonymous music that is an expression of the life of people in a community
  • n. a social division of (usually preliterate) people
  • n. people in general (often used in the plural)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English folc.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English folc, from Proto-Germanic *fulkan (compare West Frisian folk, Dutch volk and German Volk), from *fulka- ("crowd, army"), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *pl̥h₁-go (compare Welsh ôl 'track', Lithuanian pulkas 'crowd', Old Church Slavonic plŭkŭ 'army division', Albanian plog 'barn, heap'; the Slavic and Lithuanian words may have been borrowed from Proto-Germanic instead). (Some have also unsuccessfully attempted to link the word to Latin vulgus, populus or plebs ). Related to follow. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • The Folk or The Good Folk are respectful terms for fairies.

    February 17, 2008