I am looking for a word that describes people who are important to me or whom I care about. They could be family, friends, or just people I adore. Is there any word for them or anything that comes close? Basically, I want to give a one-word title to my own public list of people.

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    I've been wrestling with this same question for some time, and I decided to use "peeps", despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I'm decidedly outside the usual demographic for that word. I use it ironically and a little self-consciously, but it does exactly what I need: it describes the set of people I wanted to describe, and everyone knows what I mean by it without explanation. I don't know any other word that suits those conditions, but I'm still looking, if only so I can stop sounding like a hipster wannabe. – MT_Head May 25 '11 at 20:30
  • I like Peeps :) – xoail May 25 '11 at 21:31

11 Answers 11


"Kith and kin" is a lovely phrase for it.

Edit: Oh, you wanted just one word. Kith might cover it (kinsmen and countrymen being the original coverage), or peeps if you're okay with slang.

  • "Peeps" seems to me to be slang for "people" which doesn't necessarily imply "friends and family." "Kith" definitely comes a bit closer (and is an interesting choice) but seems to be more focused on neighbours (close and far). +1 for a few steps in the right direction. – Randolf Richardson May 25 '11 at 20:35
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    I think peeps is "people" in the sense of "my people," which would imply "friends and family." But I couldn't say so definitively. – Kit Z. Fox May 25 '11 at 21:19
  • I like Peeps coz its cool... but yes it doesnt related to friends and family... Kith is good too but I guess not everyone will get it.. and Im not sure if I can use kiths for plural ;) – xoail May 25 '11 at 21:34
  • @xoail Kith is already plural. Maybe "Homies" (also slang)? – Kit Z. Fox May 25 '11 at 21:59
  • You are right, @Kit, that is a lovely phrase. – JeffSahol May 26 '11 at 1:26

They are normally called loved ones.

  • but loved ones cannot include people I generally just like to stay in touch and not really are my loved ones... ex: my best buddy's buddy... acquaintance... – xoail May 25 '11 at 20:13
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    @xaoil, sorry I thought you were looking for people who are important to me or whom I care about. They could be family, friends, or just people I adore. – snumpy May 26 '11 at 12:44

In 2007 David Wong introduced the concept of the monkeysphere - a natural limit on the number of people with whom we can maintain caring yet individual relationships (as opposed, say, to caring about the number of people starving to death in 3rd world countries)*.

It's a funny way of looking at Dunbar's number, which is the numerical limit of those relationships. I've heard it a lot in IT-related psychological circles lately, and I see no limit to the term's uptake. There's something about the recognition of our mutual inability to remember every name, care about every death and touch every life which makes our humanity bearable.

Therefore, if you're looking for a catchy term which will make people pay attention to your list, I recommend "monkeysphere". I find that it sounds both funny and humble.

If, however, your loved ones are not particularly internet- or technology-savvy, and you're intending to share this with people whose favourable opinion you would like to cultivate, I'd stick with a tried and trusted term somewhere between "monkeysphere" and "loved ones":


*NB: The term "monkeysphere" also includes those people with whom we have adversarial relationships. I believe the monkeysphere represents the summation of positive relationships as the adversarial ones tend to zero, so maybe work on that if it's a problem.

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    Hello monkey Lunivore, the limit number of people we actually care was actually described a long time ago, at least around the 60s. Read Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape. That number is actually the number of people in an ancient tribe . – Ooker Aug 11 '15 at 2:24

I have been using "tribe" for this.


"Clan" seems to be a pretty good fit as it can be applied to family, friends, and people who share [formal or informal] membership in the same categorical group such as a society, level of education, a common trait (such as race, sex, or a rare disease), common language, etc.

The challenge is including "people who I adore" which is difficult to make fit because there are many reasons for adoration. Adoration can, for example, be limited to a single action we approve of so strongly in an individual that it cancels out all other reasons we might also have for disliking that person but which may still exclude them from our "circle of friends and family" (this may be a moot point since you'll be deciding who to include in your "clan" / public list).

  • Clan is a wonderful word so far... and I am also looking into Peeps as another one... thanks! – xoail May 25 '11 at 21:36

Given the rampant pirate/Star Trek references among my group of friends, "crew" seems to be appropriate. YMMV.

  • my crew sounds hierarchical wether our crew should fit – mbx May 25 '11 at 22:29

"Loved ones" is probably the best answer, but I often hear "(my) people" used in the same sense. If they're your people then I think it's obvious they're important to you. In slang terms it's often shortened to "peeps" or replaced by "homies," which I believe is short for "homeboys"...

At one time I believe "posse" was used in this sense. Maybe it still is. Regardless, it's informal, if that's a concern.

I'll say again, though, I think "loved ones" is probably the best answer, especially in the context given.


If you'd like a literary reference, Kurt Vonnegut coined "karass" in (I think) Breakfast of Champions to describe this.

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    Cat's Cradle, actually - but +1 for the Vonnegut reference! – MT_Head May 25 '11 at 23:57
  • @MT_Head: Right you are! I just couldn't drag up the title for the life of me. Thanks. – PSU May 26 '11 at 17:09
  • By the way, you can support Stack Exchange by using Amazon references (if possible) whenever you mention a book - the links get changed to SE referrals. – MT_Head May 26 '11 at 17:28

Dearests, the plural of the noun form of dearest, is a single word with that meaning, though it doesn't appear in all dictionaries.

In the US I'm much more likely to hear it from women than from men, likely due to the emotional intimacy of dear.

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    I'm trying to picture a group of hardened criminals calling each other "Dearests..." The image isn't pretty. =P – Randolf Richardson May 25 '11 at 21:50

Favo[u]rites, though that word is probably over-used in user interfaces these days.


A commonly used phrase for this is

Loved one: a person who you love, usually a member of your family

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