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Word of the Day
Monday, April 10, 2017

Definitions for mensch

  1. Informal. a decent, upright, mature, and responsible person.

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Citations for mensch
I understand that people make mistakes but a real man, a mensch, shoulders his responsibilities and faces people and at least explains. Francesca Segal, The Innocents, 2012
As the authors see it, practical wisdom roughly amounts to being a mensch—that is, having honor and integrity, but also rising above workaday ephemera to recognize and enact wise decisions for the greater good. Bryan Burrough, "The Spirit of the Mensch," New York Times, January 15, 2011
Origin of mensch
1950-1955
Mensch in German means simply “human being, person, individual”; mensch in Yiddish means “admirable human being, honest, honorable person,” rather like the difference in English between human and humane. The German and Yiddish nouns come from Middle High German mensche, from Old High German mennisco, and are akin to Old Frisian männska “person, human being,” Middle Dutch mensche, Old Saxon mennisco. All of these nouns derive from an adjective represented by Old English mennisc “human,” Old Norse mennskr, and Gothic mannisks. These nouns and adjectives all derive from prehistoric Germanic noun stems mannu-, mannon- “human being man,” which are related to Sanskrit mánu- “human being, man,” and Slavic (Polish) mąż “husband” (Czech) muž “man, husband.” Mensch entered English in the 20th century.