from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Archaic A nation; a people.
  • noun Informal People in general.
  • noun People of a specified group or kind.
  • noun One's parents.
  • noun The members of one's family or childhood household; one's relatives.
  • adjective Of, occurring in, or originating among the common people.
  • idiom (just folks) Down-to-earth, open-hearted.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun People, considered either distributively or collectively.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The people as an aggregate; the common people: in this use without a plural form.
  • noun An aggregate or corporate body of persons; a people; a nation: as singular folk, as plural folks (but rare in the plural).
  • noun plural friends: as, we are not folks now.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Eng. Hist.), obsolete In Anglo-Saxon times, the people of a group of townships or villages; a community; a tribe.
  • noun colloq. People in general, or a separate class of people; -- generally used in the plural form, and often with a qualifying adjective
  • noun Colloq. New Eng. The persons of one's own family.
  • noun one of a class of songs long popular with the common people.
  • noun the speech of the common people, as distinguished from that of the educated class.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English, from Old English folc; see pelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    February 17, 2008