a kind and wonderful <human?>

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Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I have just come across the following: "Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human," family attorney Alan Shifman said".
The use of the word "human" instead of "person" or "man" strikes me as rather odd because I have never seen it used this way. Could a native speaker please tell me if it is good English? :confused:

Thanks in advance.

PS Here is the link to the article http://news.yahoo.com/attorney-family-suspects-son-shootings-193302526.html
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    EDIT - see correction below
    human /ˈhjuːmən/ adj
    • of, characterizing, or relating to man and mankind: human nature
    • consisting of people: the human race, a human chain
    • having the attributes of man as opposed to animals, divine beings, or machines: human failings
    • kind or considerate

    Yes it is correct in the sense shown in definition 4.

    humanity (n.) late 14c., "kindness, graciousness," from Old French humanité, umanité "human nature; humankind, life on earth; pity," from Latin humanitatem (nominative humanitas) "human nature; philanthropy, kindness; good breeding, refinement; the human race, mankind," from humanus (see human). Sense of "human nature, human form" is c.1400; that of "human race" first recorded mid-15c.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, waltern, it is a noun, not an adjective.
    Oops! I misread it. I saw it as an adjective because that's what I was expecting. I agree it is rather odd to use it in this way. You do however see people writing things like, "he was kind and wonderful human being", which is somewhat mawkish in my estimation.
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    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm going to go out on a limb here, but the Yiddish word mensch has been imported into American English.

    Mensch literally means "human being," but in the American vernacular also means (from M-W):
    Definition of MENSCH : a person of integrity and honor

    Thus, I suggest that Shifman is using "human" in that context.


    Senior Member
    British English
    You don't need to go out on a limb. There's nothing odd about using 'human' as a noun, as in this example. I was surprised that anybody thought there was so I resorted to the OED
    A human being, a person; a member of the species Homo sapiens or other (extinct) species of the genus Homo.
    There's citations from 1509 to 2007. Here's an example
    1971 Physics Bull. Jan. 49/1 A third hailed him, as a great scientist and a superb human.
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