One of my workshop participants asked me if the term peoples is correct.

My answer: It can be.

The term people (without the s) is already plural when referring to human beings in general or collectively. It is an aggregate noun.

The New Oxford American Dictionary states that the term peoples (with the s) refers to the men, women, and children of a particular nation, community or ethnic group. Merriam Webster defines peoples as “a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group.” Learner’s Dictionary provides a shorter explanation: “a group of people who make up a race, tribe, nation, etc.”


One thought on “Peoples?

  1. Pingback: Persons vs. people: Redux | Using a Borrowed Language

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