noun (plural people /ˈpēpəl/ or persons)
Middle English: from Old French persone, from Latin persona 'actor's mask, character in a play', later 'human being'
The words people and persons can both be used as the plural of person, but they are not used in exactly the same way. People is by far the more common of the two words and is used in most ordinary contexts: a group of people; there were only about ten people; several thousand people have been rehoused. Persons, on the other hand, tends now to be restricted to official or formal contexts, as in this vehicle is authorized to carry twenty persons; no persons admitted without a pass. In some contexts, persons, by pointing to the individual, may sound less friendly than people: the number should not be disclosed to any unauthorized persons.