1. one’s relatives, one’s family; usu. qualified as my people, her people etc.
|Northern Star 6 May 13/3: I am satisfied now, that ‘my people’ will all see my opinion on the subject.|
|Sterling (1872) 139: Mrs. Sterling and the family had lived in Knightsbridge with his Father’s people through winter .|
|Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, AZ) 15 July 15/1: In 1857 I wrote a letter home [...] and several years ago my people returned me my letter.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 2 Feb. 276: My people say they’ve had twopence to pay on two of mine.|
|Lighter Side of School Life 177: A schoolboy with his ‘people’ in tow neither expects nor desires the society of his friends.|
|Seaways 108: Are you sure your people would like you to stay?‘Chops and Chips’ in|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 738: ‘Hello, peoples,’ Fran said.Judgement Day in|
|Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) 352: ‘Us niggahs are getting to look more and more like them white folks every day. You take Walter White,’ the Negro said. ‘You passing for white when you ain’t with your people?’.|
|Bounty of Texas (1990) 211: people, n. – parents.‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy|
|Prison Sl. 39: People The family or close friends of an inmate.|
|Tuff 105: Winston’s ‘peoples’ sat around an oak table.|
2. (US) one’s group, e.g. fellow players in a company of actors.
|Havoc of Smile 11: Youths whose ‘people’ are so sure to be met with in Piccadilly [OED].|
|Day Book (Chicago) 27 Apr. 14/1: I am playing to millions of my people [...] the phlegmatic chinese, the stolid Ditch, the conservative English.|
|Professor How Could You! 264: Listen, people, I found it out this afternoon.|
|Godfather 87: Freddie would have gotten it today with his old man but my people had strict orders not to gun him.|
|(con. 1969) Grunts 95: Bring your people back as fast as you can – battalion says we gotta move.|
|Turning Angel 383: He’s more likely to talk if we give an out with Cyrus’s people.|
3. (orig. US) an admirable person, a trustworthy individual; equally applicable, in context, to criminals as to the law-abiding.
|Artie (1963) 91: I guess Mame’s mother is the only people on the North Side that ain’t monkeyin’ with a wheel.|
|Und. and Prison Sl. 56: people, n. A person who is reliable and trustworthy.|
|Battle Cry (1964) 33: All right you people.|
|(con. c.1970) Phantom Blooper 29: The skipper was one hell of a decent man. He was people, you son of a bitch. Captain Greenjeans was people!|
|Royal Family 273: She’s people; she’s real cool; she’s got spunk.|
4. a type of person.
|Amer. Sl. Dict. 201: ‘He is great people’ is used in a commendatory sense of anyone.|
|Und. Detective Mar. [Internet] Mink is hard people. He wouldn’t talk.‘The Ruse in Cocaine Alley’ in|
|Swell-Looking Babe 73: I felt like you were my kind of people.|
|Out of the Burning (1961) 201: Take care of Chico; he’s a cute little people.|
|Howard Street 201: Yeah, they’ll call you boss people, but they won’t do a damn thing for you.|
|After Hours 209: She was my kind of people.|
|Times Square Hustler 59: He’s alright, he’s cool people.|
5. (US black/drugs) in drug uses.
(a) narcotics agents; police.
|Junkie (1966) 158: The People . . . Narcotics agent. Another New Orleans expression.|
|Drugs from A to Z (1970) 205: people [used mainly in New Orleans] The police.|
|Skeletons 172: Tell your people to go home and get some sleep. It’s all over now. Justice is done.|
|Juba to Jive.|
(b) as the people, high-level drug dealers.
|Heroin in Perspective (1972) 105: These men are major distributors, referred to as kilo connections and, generally, as the people.|
|in‘Taking Care of Business’ in International Journal of the Addictions 4.|
|Bk of Jargon 343: the people: Distributors of heroin at the higher levels.|
|Dread Culture 177: ‘Yuh know how di business go. Mi people waan dem papers now.’ ‘Yuh haffi give mi more time, man. Mi have some of di money, but mi still short.’.|
1. (also fine people, nice...) an admirable individual; a member of one’s peer group; less common is the antithetical bad people.
|St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 3 Dec. 17/7: ‘Good people’ is a universal expression applied alike to an individual and a company. It means a good fellow or a crowd of good fellows.|
|Checkers 117: Just to show the girl that he was ‘good people,’ and teach her to have a proper respect for him.|
|Wolfville 28: Her face makes you feel she’s good people though, with her big soft eyes.|
|Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 11 Sept. 20/1: It’s a film that shows a swell slug that’s lost his wad and gets down to carrying the banner or something — if he’s good people.|
|Amer. Law Rev. LII (1918) 891: A ‘good fellow’ is a thief, man or woman, who pays his bills.‘Criminal Sl.’ in|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 93: This party [...] is one of the Johnson family. [...] He’s good people and I want to get him fixed up for a cell with the right folks.|
|Spanish Blood (1946) 183: ‘I’m nice people,’ he said. ‘But I gotta protect the guests.’.‘Trouble Is My Business’ in|
|DAUL 84/1: Good people. (Sing. & pl.) 1. Any loyal member of the underworld; a ‘respectable’ criminal. 2. A person, not of the underworld, who is friendly to or who does business with the underworld.et al.|
|Waiters 183: He’s jus’ nice people.|
|Lady Sings the Blues (1975) 92: He’s a [...] talented cat. But more than that, he’s fine people.|
|Proud Highway (1997) 604: She was good people in every sense of the word.letter 8 Feb. in|
|Angel Dust 77: The young teenager must at least drink beer and/or smoke marijuana as a minimal gesture to gain acceptance as ‘good people’.et al.|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 9: A Johnson pays his debts and keeps his word [...] He is what they call in show business ‘good people’.Foreword in Black|
|Corner (1998) 326: The nurses are all darlings. The other patients are good peoples.|
|Wire ser. 3 ep. 2 [TV script] Tommy’s a good kid usually, an ass-pain when he wants something but mostly good people.‘All Due Respect’|
2. (US Und.) a leading criminal, irrespective of speciality.
|TAD Lex. (1993) 63: It must have ben [sic] fixed. Y-e-s-why I got it from good people.in Zwilling|
|Gay-cat 60: The ‘good people’ are the pick of the pickpockets, of the second-story men, of the safe crackers [...] By good is meant that they make crime pay. They are brainy, clever, daring and dangerous criminals.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 171: He is mobbed up with some very good people in his day.‘Gentlemen, the King!’ in|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 104: good people talent Clever crooks.|
|Texas by the Tail (1994) 53: Red and I are good people. Why treat us like dirt?|
|Serpico 170: The guy he works for is good people.|
|Another Day in Paradise 181: He’s good people, kill a motherfucker in a minute.|
1. (US) one’s close friends.
|Roll On My Twelve 107: My people wouldn’t ask where I was.|
|(con. 1948) Flee the Angry Strangers 106: And it’s my people [...] I’d feel I’d be doin them a real hurt.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 128: I still have my people there.|
|Third Ear n.p.: my people n. 1. one’s relatives. 2. one with whom the speaker has close ties.|
|Drylongso 51: I have sugar. Many of my people had it and some have it now.|
|Da Bomb [Internet] 19: My peoples: Family; friends.|
|Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] peoples n. friends, companions or acquaintances. ‘I got all my peoples out on 100th and Crenshaw!’.|
2. (US black) one’s fellow gang members.
|Housing Lark 153: It’s better to have one of Our People collecting that ten per cent commission than any fuggup Nordic.|
|Third Ear n.p.: my people n. […] 3. gang or group from the same neighborhood.|
3. any fellow members of a group or minority, usu. used ironically.
|Cannibals 244: I have to goose my people.|
|Black Jargon in White America 73: my people n. […]. 2. black people; Afro-Americans.|
4. see sense 1 sense 1.
(US ) one’s peers; trustworthy people; equally applicable to criminals as to the law-abiding; also as adj.
|Score by Innings (2004) 386: She said that she had side-stepped a date with a Pittsburgh millionaire because we were real people.‘His Own Stuff’ in|
|Bruiser 39: Thanks, Buck – you’re real people.|
|Novels and Stories (1995) 1006: I know youse somebody swell to know. Youse real people.‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in|
|Panic in Needle Park (1971) 66–7: I turned around to Helen and I told her, ‘Helen, I like you. You’re real people.’.|
|Queens’ Vernacular 169: real people generic for agreeable, easy-to-like/live-with persons.|
SE in slang uses
a derisory or critical comment by the speaker on the opinions or more likely the activities of others; the details are unspoken but will be a condemnation of what some people are doing.
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Yeah, some people!‘May the Force be with You’|