- a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money.
- a stingy, avaricious person.
- Obsolete. a wretched or unhappy person.
Origin of miser
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a comedy (1668) by Molière.
Examples from the Web for miser
He repulsed the advances of neighbors, and became what Robert called him—a miser.
Robert was right in calling him a miser, but he had not always deserved the name.
But you know the old man has become a miser, and makes money his idol.
She declared she was thrifty, but neither a miser, nor a kidnaper, nor a witch.Welsh Fairy Tales
William Elliott Griffis
I have a regard for old Matthew, though he is something of a miser, I fear.Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
- a person who hoards money or possessions, often living miserably
- selfish person
- civil engineering a large hand-operated auger used for loose soils
Word Origin and History for miser
1540s, "miserable person, wretch," from Latin miser (adj.) "unhappy, wretched, pitiable, in distress," of unknown origin. Original sense now obsolete; main modern meaning of "money-hoarding person" recorded 1560s, from presumed unhappiness of such people.
Besides general wretchedness, the Latin word connoted also "intense erotic love" (cf. slang got it bad "deeply infatuated") and hence was a favorite word of Catullus. In Greek a miser was kyminopristes, literally "a cumin seed splitter." In Modern Greek, he might be called hekentabelones, literally "one who has sixty needles." The German word, filz, literally "felt," preserves the image of the felt slippers which the miser often wore in caricatures. Lettish mantrausis "miser" is literally "money-raker."