Learn English – Difference between nation and folk/a people


I'm not sure if this questions belongs in the philosophical forum or here, but I'll give it a try anyway: what is the difference between nation and people? Is there an overlapping meaning or do they just happen to coincidentally exist on the same instance? Or is it even an exact synonym?

note: I'm not talking about the meaning of nation as country.

Best Answer

The word nation has its origin in the Latin natio-, from nat- meaning 'born'. It refers to a body of people united by birth, history, language, culture, and so on. The idea of a nation as a sovereign state came later, the notion of borders being a relatively recent invention.

Consider the term First Nations, which is used to refer to the indigenous peoples of Canada, for example. The term is also applied to other groups of people who are without a country (in the modern sense), such as the Roma.

The term people (from Latin populus) can be defined as above for nation. I would say the two words are synonymous in this context.