luftmensch

play
noun luft·mensch \ ˈlu̇ft-ˌmen(t)sh \

Definition of luftmensch

plural luftmenschen play \ˈlu̇ft-ˌmen(t)-shən\
:an impractical contemplative person having no definite business or income

luftmensch was our Word of the Day on 04/07/2008. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Are you someone who always seems to have your head in the clouds? Do you have trouble getting down to the lowly business of earning a living? If so, you may deserve to be labeled a "luftmensch." That airy appellation is an adaptation of the Yiddish "luftmentsh," which breaks down into "luft" (a Germanic root meaning "air" that is also related to the English words "loft" and "lofty") plus mentsh, meaning "human being." "Luftmensch" was first introduced to English prose in 1907, when Israel Zangwill wrote, "The word 'Luftmensch' flew into Barstein's mind. Nehemiah was not an earth-man. . .. He was an air-man, floating on facile wings."

Origin and Etymology of luftmensch

Yiddish luftmentsh, from luft air + mentsh human being


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