Definition of folk in US English:



  • 1informal treated as plural People in general.

    ‘some folk will do anything for money’
    ‘an old folks' home’
    • ‘I might be wrong but folk of my generation are probably Apple's prime audience.’
    • ‘The family day is all the more special for folks who live in separation.’
    • ‘For most folks, it seems easier just to live with the problem than try to fix it.’
    • ‘They are not public figures but ordinary folk, ‘people like you’.’
    • ‘Take a stroll through some city centres with these folks over the next few days if you have time.’
    • ‘Many young folk want to be fighter pilots when they grow up.’
    • ‘Who'd have guessed folks living this close to Edina would be so friendly after dark?’
    • ‘His job takes him all round the old folk's homes in Lancashire entertaining residents.’
    • ‘A lot of invaluable literature in the languages of the common folk has remained outside recognised literary boundaries.’
    • ‘There will be happy nostalgic memories for the many folk who frequented that popular venue in their youth having now advanced a few years.’
    • ‘I suppose it also had to do with the fact that my parents were messy folk, something of which I was deeply ashamed.’
    • ‘As you know, he got himself into a whole lot of trouble with folks in New York City.’
    • ‘All these young folk don't know about Ky the con artist.’
    • ‘But these young folk in the suburbs are in general more consumers than critics when it comes to American capitalism.’
    • ‘I want to see those folks who live in the area out there giving it a try.’
    • ‘Many of the folk at Greenways Residential Home, Salisbury Road, are housebound or do not like to go out on trips.’
    • ‘Many folks up here have a sense of pride in their city or town and welcome filmmakers.’
    • ‘There was a general feeling amongst folk who hadn't been faced with this situation before; they were stunned.’
    • ‘Mixing with the fan base and common folk has its good and bad sides.’
    • ‘Those of us who have lived on the edge have had a lot of folks come and go in our lives.’
    people, humans, persons, individuals, souls, living souls, mortals
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1folks Used as a friendly form of address to a group of people.
      ‘meanwhile, folks, why not relax and enjoy the show?’
      • ‘There's a point where it doesn't make sense to make a corporation any bigger, folks.’
      • ‘The little hardback books will be in the post as soon as possible, folks.’
      • ‘I think we've located another point in our musical journey here, folks.’
      • ‘To tell the truth, folks, there are so many debates running in parallel here that I'm inclined to give up the ghost.’
      • ‘Mark this day on your calendar, folks, because it is a rare occasion indeed.’
      • ‘So it is just not rest and relaxation on a holiday, folks, you can combine business and pleasure.’
      • ‘This might be a little tricky for them, folks, but don't worry because I have a strong feeling that they'll do it!’
      • ‘We only go around once on this earth, folks, so we'd better get it right the first time.’
      • ‘That's as outrageous as it got, folks, and she didn't quite carry it off.’
      • ‘See what you miss when you don't actually listen closely to the words of songs, folks?’
      • ‘The Soul of Man Under Socialism, folks, looks a lot better than it does under ten feet of sewage-filled water.’
      • ‘Spooky psychic powers aside, folks, that's why I believe that Gordon Smith is the real deal.’
      • ‘It's not too late to research and save for your own retirement, folks.’
      • ‘This is the last Webdiary for the year, folks, so thanks to all of you who wrote and read this year.’
      • ‘Those friendly folks at Fringe Theatre Adventures are holding on to Bilbo for one extra night.’
      • ‘The film doesn't even get released until November, so we're in for the long-haul, folks.’
      • ‘A fair amount of the traditional old machete gardening was in order - it's more fun than it looks, folks!’
      • ‘If you want real, on the ground reporting, turn to the British and European stations, folks.’
      • ‘So roll up for your tax cut, folks, and pencil in a trip to the ballot box this year.’
      • ‘It's a modern-day fairy tale, folks, because, you see, they did get on the telly after all.’
    2. 1.2one's folksNorth American The members of one's family, especially one's parents.
      ‘I get along all right with your folks’
      • ‘My folks never took my instruments away or forbade me to play a gig.’
      • ‘Now I understand that my folks must have saved me from death hundreds of times without even thinking twice about it.’
      • ‘Help your friends move, invite your folks to live with you, go out of your way to help someone with their homework, and so on.’
      relatives, relations, blood relations, family, family members, kinsfolk, kinsmen, kinswomen, kin, kindred, next of kin, flesh and blood
      View synonyms
  • 2Folk music.

    ‘a mixture of folk and reggae’
    • ‘This is not traditional Christian rock, Christian folk or Christian anything.’
    • ‘For fans of real, heartfelt music that's mingled with soul, folk, pop/rock and blues this is a truly impressive disc.’
    • ‘‘Come on Eileen’ was a brilliant fusion of '80s pop, Celtic folk, and blue-eyed soul.’
    • ‘Their music is a mixture of Eastern European folk, gypsy, techno and American jazz.’
    • ‘As with any folk fest, much of the magic will happen during the workshops.’
    • ‘Susan bought the CD of a Gypsy folk band we heard play.’
    • ‘We had all this exposure, and we did all the major folk fests.’
    • ‘They are undoubtedly the fastest rising star on the UK folk scene.’
    • ‘Casey's voice is distinctive and his style combines folk and soul similar to the Reef and Gomez spectrum of songwriting.’
    • ‘His music is a constantly shifting amalgam: Rock and roll, funk, rap, blues, folk, and soul all contribute to his songwriting.’
    • ‘Expect to hear it in the future at your favourite coffeehouse or folk fest.’
    • ‘A visitor from Nashville rounds off a season of top folk and soul in Haworth this winter and spring.’
    • ‘She plays steel, slide and acoustic guitar, mandolin and body percussion - her music crossing boundaries through folk, country and reggae.’
    • ‘The crowd booed and jeered at the Newport folk festival in 1965.’
    • ‘In the end it sounds like a South American folk tune.’
    • ‘They'd played together at various folk festivals and gigs.’
    • ‘Off The Rails will also be playing rock, reggae, jazz, folk, samba, blues and world music-influenced songs.’
    • ‘Woody Guthrie was a hero to a generation of folk musicians, Bob Dylan among them.’
    • ‘His music includes songs and tunes from a wide range of music traditions, including folk, blues, reggae, cajun and klezmer.’
    • ‘How vital is the live folk scene in the UK at the moment?’


  • 1Relating to the traditional art or culture of a community or nation.

    ‘a revival of interest in folk customs’
    ‘a folk museum’
    • ‘Based on a Macedonian folk tale, it became the most famous Yugoslavian ballet.’
    • ‘For Blackwell, folk art perfectly captures the nature of his company.’
    • ‘His own work retained a distinctly Romanian identity rooted in his native country's folk art tradition.’
    • ‘I ignored whatever looked like folk motifs, material of the rural raconteur.’
    • ‘As true folk dance, it is not restricted to professional or specialist dancers.’
    • ‘As a form of folk art, the early popularity of traditional Chinese cartoons was based upon the development of the folk culture.’
    • ‘And somewhere along the way, all that folk culture has died.’
    • ‘Feng Shui, which is deeply rooted in ancient Chinese folk culture, is an important element in architecture here.’
    • ‘This applies not only in the field of linguistics but in law and social custom, in mythology, in folk custom and in traditional musical form.’
    • ‘We must always tread carefully when folk history diverges from the official line.’
    • ‘The second part of the program will be more contemporary, with musical elements derived from more indigenous folk traditions.’
    • ‘Sinhalese rites of passage involve a mixture of Buddhist customs and folk traditions.’
    • ‘For Croatians, food, tradition, and folk culture are interconnected, especially as a part of holiday celebrations.’
    • ‘The folk dance in India found it's own roots, moorings and maturity.’
    • ‘Folk art is a very clean form of art in my opinion.’
    • ‘By the time I was sixteen I could do all sorts of folk dances.’
    • ‘True folk art is little subject to fashion and changing taste.’
    • ‘It was an assertion of a Jacksonian and old republican culture representing a folk tradition of honour.’
    • ‘Central to Welsh culture is the centuries-old folk tradition of poetry and music which has helped keep the Welsh language alive.’
    • ‘The consensus was that folk literature is traditional narrative transmitted over time in an original, stable form.’
    racial, race-related, ethnological, genetic, inherited
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Relating to or originating from the beliefs and opinions of ordinary people.
      ‘a folk hero’
      ‘folk wisdom’
      • ‘Popular songs are sung by folk heroes with humble origins.’
      • ‘The word resonates with enough folk wisdom to steer interpretation in a particular direction.’
      • ‘Johnny Cash was the original rock and roll outlaw folk hero.’
      • ‘As far as Russian folk belief is concerned, during this liminal period the body still retains some vestige of life.’
      • ‘Ireland over the centuries produced many famous seafarers who are folk heroes in the country of their adoption.’
      • ‘In other words, it is inculcated in the form of folk wisdom or tradition.’
      • ‘Eve has known of this folk belief but hasn't fully accepted it as truth.’
      • ‘Apparently there's some strange, arcane folk belief that wearing such headgear actually makes everything you say and do amusing.’
      • ‘Manners for wedding etiquette, remember, it's mostly just folk lore.’
      • ‘The act made Johansen a folk hero among hackers.’
      • ‘Sounds logical, but logic never killed a folk hero.’
      • ‘In this world, men like Amarillo Slim are folk heroes.’
      • ‘The folk belief that oats are aphrodisiacs goes back hundreds of years and has spread over several continents.’
      • ‘The Portuguese have a variety of folk beliefs, many of which coincide with those of other cultures.’
      • ‘According to folk religious beliefs, babies up to one year old don't have souls and can be considered like small animals.’
      • ‘Rooted in immemorial folk beliefs, ghost stories, as a literary genre, have their own conventions and are a comparatively recent development.’
      • ‘The walk will include a talk on the history, legends and folk lore of the area.’
      • ‘It has a lot of folk beliefs and fairly primitive religion mixed in.’
      • ‘This allows room for folk beliefs to flourish and perpetuate.’
      • ‘Many folk beliefs involve methods for keeping ghosts, or duppies, from returning to haunt living people.’
  • 2Relating to folk music.

    ‘a folk club’
    ‘folk singers’


  • just (plain) folks

    • Ordinary, down-to-earth, unpretentious people.

      • ‘Don't you figure it's possible that a half million or more of Egan's flock are just folks from the suburbs?’
      • ‘We civilians sometimes forget that these great athletes are just folks, too.’
      • ‘Some are professional journalists, but the vast majority of them are just folks with something on their minds.’
      • ‘The story's piquancy, after all, depends on the fact that, though they move in criminal circles, the characters are just folks, like you or me.’
      • ‘Stories that work in minorities and other underrepresented groups as experts - or just folks with something of value to say - are worth doing too.’
      • ‘These are just folks like all of us in this interview, like my neighbours.’
      • ‘ also has a good forum for postings from just folks.’
      • ‘Certainly they responded, from the great to just folks.’


Old English folc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch volk and German Volk.