From Yiddish לופֿטמענטש (luftmentsh), from לופֿט (luft, “air”) + מענטש (mentsh, “man”). Compare German von Luft und Liebe leben (“to disregard the practical matters of life”, literally “to live on air and love”), German Luftikus (“impractical, quixotic, or careless person”).
luftmensch (plural luftmenschen)
- One more concerned with airy intellectual pursuits than practical matters like earning an income.
- My wife is such a luftmensch she missed our anniversary dinner because she was too busy reading her books!
- March 24, 2007, McLean, Helen, “Marc of Distinction”, in The Globe and Mail, Books, page D6:
- Chagall was a luftmensch, he says, a man of the air...