Whoopee Doopee, we have fun!
You lost the game!
Here is a Unity Games post from Dec. 2003 that may offer some documented usage:
Bob Scherer-Hoock wrote wrote:
As I understand it, the word "meeple", for "my people", the little
pawns in Carcassonne, was a creation of UG's own Alison Hansel.
So imagine my surprise when I downloaded the Carcassone PC Game Add-On
this week, cranked it up, and got to a point in a game with one of the
expansions that I had to choose whether to place a regular pawn or the
giant one. As I scan my cursor over the icons that indicate my
choices, I get pop-up windows noting that one icon is for placing a
"small meeple" and the other for placing a "large meeple".
And this in a PC game that was produced in Germany and coded by a
Russian development team.
I guess the word - meeple that is - is getting around.