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Every now and then I received emails starting with "Dear Folks" or "Hi Folks" from my boss and colleagues.

I checked Cambridge Dictionary and it means:

  • people, esp. those of a particular group or type.
  • Your folks are your parents.
  • You can say folks if you want to speak in a friendly way to people you do not know.

I will exclude second and third meanings because the sender is a colleague at work. So my question is: Why do they use it if it mean (almost) "Dear/Hi people"? I think there is another meaning of it.

Note: I asked them and most of them think about it as "Dear Friends" or "Dear team" in informal way.

  • US? UK? I would never even expect to read this is a business email (western US). You should add if the mail contents were formal, informal or chit-chat. – user3169 Mar 5 '17 at 20:52
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It's just a very informal way of addressing a group of people. I'd say it was closest to Dear Team. My reasoning behind this is because of the third definition as you have stated above. It is usually used for a group of people you are less familiar with. (I'm from the UK if it makes a difference, I think this could be used differently depending on where one hails from.)

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    I think it feels a bit forced "chummy" but that is no help to the OP. – WendyG May 23 at 10:37
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    Wendy, I absolutely agree with you there. Like the person is trying to be informal on purpose to make him/herself more approachable. – Bee May 23 at 10:39
  • yes, could you add that now you have worded it usefully – WendyG May 23 at 14:29

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