n. pl. folk or folks
a. 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: a leader who came from the folk.
b. Archaic A nation; a people.
2. folks Informal People in general: Folks around here are very friendly.
3. often folks People of a specified group or kind: city folks; rich folk.
4. folks Informal
a. One's parents: My folks are coming for a visit.
b. The members of one's family or childhood household; one's relatives.
Of, occurring in, or originating among the common people: folk culture; a folk hero.
just folks Informal
[Middle English, from Old English folc; see pelə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.