- Usually folks. (used with a plural verb) people in general: Folks say there wasn't much rain last summer.
- Often folks. (used with a plural verb) people of a specified class or group: country folk; poor folks.
- (used with a plural verb) people as the carriers of culture, especially as representing the composite of social mores, customs, forms of behavior, etc., in a society: The folk are the bearers of oral tradition.
- folks, Informal.
- members of one's family; one's relatives: All his folks come from France.
- one's parents: Will your folks let you go?
- Archaic. a people or tribe.
- of or originating among the common people: folk beliefs; a folk hero.
- having unknown origins and reflecting the traditional forms of a society: folk culture; folk art.
- just folks, Informal. (of persons) simple, unaffected, unsophisticated, or open-hearted people: He enjoyed visiting his grandparents because they were just folks.
Origin of folk
SynonymsSee more synonyms for folk on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for folks
In other words, the free speech exhibited by the folks at Charlie Hebdo was not virtuous—until there was a body count.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead
January 8, 2015
What tastes great to an American consumer may not be what folks in China or India would choose to eat or drink.The Science of Ingredient Innovation
December 15, 2014
All these folks were full of gripping stories about their time with Pryor, since he created much drama offstage as well as on.How Richard Pryor Beat Bill Cosby and Transformed America
David Yaffe, Scott Saul
December 10, 2014
Because look, folks: The Democrats are the party of government.Democrats Are Petrified of Defending Government—but They Need to Start
December 4, 2014
And our folks are standing guard outside the [jury room] door!Florida Cops on What Ferguson Can Learn From Trayvon
November 20, 2014
You folks been cuttin' a pretty wide swath here in New York.
Think of a son of Daniel J. Bines treatin' folks like that as if they was his equals.
It was the night you and the folks went to the opera with the Oldakers.
"Thought it might be some of you folks when I saw the car," said Higbee, shaking hands all around.
Now the folks out in this part of the country have come to expect it from a man like him.
- (functioning as plural; often plural in form) people in general, esp those of a particular group or classcountry folk
- (functioning as plural; usually plural in form) informal members of a family
- (functioning as singular) informal short for folk music
- a people or tribe
- (modifier) relating to, originating from, or traditional to the common people of a countrya folk song
Word Origin and History for folks
"people of one's family," 1715, colloquial, from plural of folk.
Old English folc "common people, laity; men; people, nation, tribe; multitude; troop, army," from Proto-Germanic *folkom (cf. Old Frisian folk, Middle Dutch volc, German Volk "people"), from Proto-Germanic *fulka-, perhaps originally "host of warriors;" cf. Old Norse folk "people," also "army, detachment;" and Lithuanian pulkas "crowd," Old Church Slavonic pluku "division of an army," both believed to have been borrowed from Proto-Germanic. Old English folcstede could mean both "dwelling-place" and "battlefield."
Some have attempted to link the word to Greek plethos "multitude;" Latin plebs "people, mob," populus "people" or vulgus; OED and Klein discount this theory but it is accepted in Watkins. The plural form has been usual since 17c. Superseded in most senses by people. Old English folc was commonly used in forming compounds, such as folccwide "popular saying," folcgemot "town or district meeting;" folcwoh "deception of the public." Folk-etymology is attested from 1890.
By Folk-etymology is meant the influence exercised upon words, both as to their form and meaning, by the popular use and misuse of them. In a special sense, it is intended to denote the corruption which words undergo, owing either to false ideas about their derivation, or to a mistaken analogy with other words to which they are supposed to be related. [The Rev. A. Smythe Palmer, "Folk-Etymology," 1890]
Idioms and Phrases with folks
see just folks.