DSAE test file

mens, noun and interjection

/mens/, /mẽs/
Forms:
Formerly also mensch.
Plurals:
mense /ˈmensə/; formerly menschen and occasionally menser.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, earlier Dutch (obsolete) mensch person.
A. noun
1. obsolete.
a. Usually in the plural : Afrikaners. Cf. Christenmensch sense c. See also volk sense 3 b.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 65‘Menschen’ is used by Dutch colonists of themselves, to the exclusion not only of black people, but of Europeans also.
[1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 43Why should he, being merely an ‘uitlander,’ be permitted to loot? If one of ‘Onse Mense’ (our people — meaning Transvaal Boers) had been looting, it could be overlooked and forgiven.]
b. A white person. Cf. Christenmensch sense b.
1960 J. Cope Tame Ox 69Mogamat said..: ‘The white people are a lot of ——y swine!’...There were two white people in the room but he was not thinking of them, he was thinking of the ‘mense’ in general...He had a voice for the ‘mense’, a whine; he had a flicker in the eyes for them and a quick touch of his cap as a gesture.
2. Usually in the plural.
a. People, human beings; ordinary people.
1871 [see volk sense 2].
1990 K. Lemmer in Weekly Mail 30 Mar. 13Local MP’s renamed the roads — after themselves, naturally. The mense, in response, were not just content to paint them out. New names were also painted in.
b. Family members.
1963 A.M. Louw 20 Days 90She had said that her ‘mense’ — her people — had dinner early and that she was usually finished with the washing up by half past seven.
3. Usually in the plural : A term of address.
1982 Pace June 46For all Manana’s tiny prettiness one gets the impression that the matter is unlikely to remain in this unsatisfactory state. Grr, watch it, mense.
1988 Smuts & Alberts Forgotten Highway through Ceres & Bokkeveld 132An old custom from that time of territorial separation survives today: such people, especially in the desolate Karoo, address others as ‘mens’. ‘Sir’, ‘Baas’ or ‘you’ would either be too intimate or too subservient and therefore this extra-ordinary form of address evolved.
B. interjection An exclamation used for emphasis, and equivalent to ‘goodness’.
1986 S. Sepamla Third Generation 8I dared not cross her path because she could lash violently with her ageing tongue. Mense! Mmabatho had a tongue.
Afrikaners.
A white person.
People, human beings; ordinary people.
Family members.
A term of address.
An exclamation used for emphasis, and equivalent to ‘goodness’.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18711990