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A gang of people



Listen to Professor Crystal

Peeps. P-E-E-P-S. Short for 'people' really, plus an 's' at the end. 'My peeps' means 'my people'. It's not the first time that an 's' has been used at the end of a word like that - you hear it with parental terms like 'mums' and 'pops'. But it was only in the 1990s, that I heard 'peeps' come in to use for the first time. I first heard it in songs, actually. I think it was in rap and things like that - where 'peeps' meant 'my friends', 'my mates' - especially in the context of a gang, you know, 'my fellow gang members', 'my peeps', 'these are my guys'.

And then I heard it with reference to parents, 'come and meet my peeps' - that was back in the 1980s. Less used now, I think - 'peeps' as 'gang members' is more common.

And I've heard it in a more general context too - 'how many peeps are coming to the party tonight?' - meaning, you know, 'how many people are coming to the party?' Or, 'Joe's chilling out with his peeps' - 'Joe's chilling out with his mates'. So the general usage is 'close pals', 'people you hang out with'. But it's definitely a young usage - I have got peeps, I suppose, but I've never, ever, referred to them as such.


download transcriptTranscript (pdf - 42k)

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download audioAudio - Professor David Crystal on "Peeps" (mp3 - 455k)
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