Mensch came to English from Yiddish in the 20th century. The Yiddish word comes from a Middle High German word for person, but in Yiddish and English usage, it refers to a decent, admirable person with many good qualities. Like many words from Yiddish, mensch is a welcome addition to the language because there is no exact English one-word equivalent.
Mensch is new to English and still unfamiliar to many people, so writers often italicize it to signal that it’s a loanword. But if it stays in the language, it will go unitalicized increasingly often.
Gary Carter, the Hall of Famer and key member of the 1986 world champion New York Mets, was, to use a Yiddish expression, a mensch in every sense of the word. [Queens Chronicle]
Whatever the cause of my clients’ malaise, I cannot overstate how important it is for executives to learn how to differentiate a mensch from a manipulator without resorting to peoplepredictor.com to do so. [Forbes]
Adam is a mensch, handles himself with class, and in the end his team is punished for it. [Jewish Journal]
If he were a smug SOB I might feel differently, but the fact that he’s a true menschmakes me really uncomfortable when people trash him. [comment on The Good Phight]
Reiner and his old comedy partner Mel Brooks sit down with David Sternberg to talk funny business and be 100 percent delightful mensches. [AV Club]