noundialect British, Scottish, Irish
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.
3Neatness, tidiness; newness, gloss.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Thre Prestis of Peblis. Variant of mensk, with northern loss of -k from final -sk.
noundialect British, Scottish
A large amount or quantity. Usually with of.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Richard Winter Hamilton (1794–1848), Congregational minister. Origin uncertain. Perhaps aphetic from immense, or perhaps a specific sense of mense, showing a development of sense from ‘profuse hospitality, liberality’ to ‘a liberal amount, a great deal’.
nouninformal South African
With plural agreement. People; (frequently) specifically. Afrikaners. Often as a form of address.
Late 19th century. From Afrikaans mense, plural of mens person from Dutch †mensch (now mens).