One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounIrish English, English Regional, Scottish, Northern
1Propriety, decorum, kindness, tact; discretion, intelligence, common sense.
2"to have both one's meat and mense" and variants: to have the credit of being considered generous (in regard to food, etc.) without the expense (as by giving an invitation which is not accepted). Similarly "to lose both one's meat and mense", etc.
3English regional. Neatness, tidiness; newness, gloss.
nounEnglish Regional, Scottish, Northern
A large amount or quantity. Usually with of.
Treated as plural. People; (frequently) specifically. Afrikaners. Often as a form of address.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Thre Prestis of Peblis. Variant of mensk, with northern loss of -k from final -sk<br>mid 19th century; earliest use found in Richard Winter Hamilton (1794–1848), Congregational minister. Origin uncertain. Perhaps aphetic from immense, or perhaps a specifically sense of mense, showing a development of sense from ‘profuse hospitality, liberality’ to ‘a liberal amount, a great deal’<br>late 19th century. From Afrikaans mense, plural of mens person from Dutch † mensch.
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